VOCATION TALK 1960

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 06, 2016

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Submitted: July 06, 2016

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We sat

on the deserted

air-raid shelter

in the grass

by Banks House

 

it was Saturday afternoon

the sun warm

 

I may want to be a nun

when I leave school

Fay said

 

I looked at her

why would you want

to be one of those?

I said

 

I think I may

have a vocation

she replied

looking at me

with her blue eyes

 

what's that?

I said

 

a calling from God

to serve Him

in a religious life

she said

 

I looked at her fair hair

the way she had it

tied in a ponytail

 

what about us?

I said

I thought we might

get married years to come

and move away

from your old man

and see the Old West

 

she frowned at me

nuns can't marry

she said

they have to be celibate

 

I lowered my eyes

to the yellow flowered dress

she was wearing

 

what's celibate mean?

I said

turning to look

at the coal wharf

where coal lorries

and horse drawn wagons

were being

loaded up with coal

 

it means abstaining from marriage

and sexual relations

Sister Jude told me

Fay said

 

but we're not sexual relations

I'm just a friend

I said

turning back to look at her

but why not marry?

 

Fay gazed at me

because Sister Jude said

we marry God

marry Our Lord

 

I sighed

but you're only 12 like me

how can you be a nun?

I said

 

not now when I'm older

when I'm 16 say

she said

 

you said last week

your mum might take you away

from here away

from your old man

and brothers what then?

 

she looked at her hands

in her lap

 

don't know

have to see what happens

she said

 

she looked at me

don't tell anyone

we might be leaving Benny

it's secret

she said

 

I won't tell a soul

I said

 

she kissed my cheek

and said

thank you Benny

 

I took out a packet

of football cigarette cards

from my jeans pocket

and showed her

my favourite

which was Stanley Matthews

 

she took it and stared at it

then gave it back to me

 

she had tears

in her blue eyes

and they seemed as if

they were in water

 

I wanted to tell

her mum

not to take away

her little daughter.


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