Peom for Holy Week

By Debbie Stafford


Lost in his home peopled by
Faded photographs
Waiting for the phone that never rings –
Rheumy eyes fixed on an empty street,
He passes the hours in silence.

In the ever closing in, shrinking claustrophobic place
Noises assault her,
TV’s strident voices, computer games, the children’s shrieks
She presses her hand to the window pane –
To seen but unreachable
Fresh, green, park space.

Fevered in his sweaty bed
With rank duvet, mugs of half drunken coffee
Lying discarded on the littered floor;
He lies amongst fears of dying –
Wishing after all this time
Of prized independance
For his mother, to make it right –

In the darkened watches of the night
She is suddenly overwhelmed
There are so many –
And they seem so few –
She turns to this one, the next one,
For each moment, the only one –
This is all she can do.
The sacrament of care,
One by one.

Rusted nails hammered with
Deadly efficiency through screaming skin
Smashing bones and tendons –
Then hanging there, every breath a colossal effort
Slowly, agonisingly, suffocating to death –
Christ on the cross
Dying for the sins of an indifferent world.

Listen to Debbie’s reading of her poem in our Podcasts.

© Debbie Stafford