Doors And Corridors' Part One

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My memories are full of the doors and corridors of my life,
Kids wondered why I had no kin other than a grandmother.
Being fatherless, followed by the shame of it, plus unwanted by a mother,
The first corridor is of early childhood, living in an Irish Catholic cocoon.
Hush! Don't say a word! Keep her quiet! Don't go there!
Black dressed nun, with pale cross features, staring … judging,
White-collared clergymen giving advice on morality and so forth,
Behind closed doors, what really was the Church's dark secret?
The first door, door number 14, ‘safe for a while' door.
The second door, the green door of St Joseph's School …
My unhappy days were spent in corridors and behind doors there!
Each door had a different story; each story would mark me for life.
The endless corridors with numbered doors are still embedded in my mind.
Some nuns were kind while others were nothing more than monsters in black!
While their dress reminded me of penguins, waddling here and there,
Rosary beads trailing the ground making that unforgettable sound,
Down the stairs and along every corridor, those beads echoed across the concrete building.
Canes and flung dusters were the weapons to torture the child to give in,
It was the ‘mug and jug' teachings of the Sisters of Mercy regime,
Slap the child for not learning in the way they wanted you to learn.
Ignorant to their disabilities, they regarded children as dunces,
When most just needed support to be the little geniuses they were in their own right.
Left in the hands of women who were regarded as Brides of Christ,
Beaten before their young minds could become free-thinking,
Labeled and damaged forever because they did not or could not submit.
The corridors of punishment with the statue of the Blessed Virgin,
Every first Friday of each month we marched down the long passage
To the main hallway beside the big glass doors, next to the cloakrooms,
Gathering each class from door to door, marching in a single line to the school assembly.
Prayers were recited and hymns were sung before punishments would begin,
The school's head nun would carry out the caning on the children.
It was such humiliation in front of all the classes, leaving a bitter mark on your pride.
Penalized for not being cleverer; for not being able to spell or for some small misdemeanor that a teaching nun had reported.
By fifth class, they had decided that I was not worth the bother, so they told my guardians to make other arrangements.
Freedom is a beautiful word, freedom from the holy oppressors is like a bird taken its first flight, soaring into the great unknown.
Corridors and doors from that hell hole, banished to my distant past, are awoken like a bad dream.

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COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Ming Murphy 20 October 2015

Pain and anguish is clear in this poem but so too is a strong determination from an incredible woman

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Pollie Frampton 29 September 2015

Very insightful Mai. You show great understanding of the topic you cover in this poem. You have a lovely real to life way of addressing your subject. You can truly feel the discerning attitudes of a religious order to illegitimacy and difference in an era of conservative Catholic Ireland. Great work Mai! ! Well done! !

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