Issue FourPoetry

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By Anne Casey


A penny in a new purse (that it may never be empty)

The Child of Prague left out all night (to bring a dry day for the First Holy Communion)

Never pick a flower from a fairy fort (It will bring down a curse)

Never speak ill of the dead (no matter how wicked they were, God rest their immortal soul)

A spit on the hand to seal the deal

A prayer to St Anthony to find something lost

To St Jude in the case of lost hope

Novenas on your knees if there’s no hope at all (because miracles can happen – just look at Auntie Marie’s neighbour’s first cousin)

Never open an umbrella in the house (It will stunt your growth)

Eat your crusts (They’ll make your hair curl, or straight if it’s curly)

Don’t make that face (If the wind turns, you’ll be stuck with it)

Red and green should never be seen

Never wear shiny shoes with a skirt

Only eat pork if there’s an ‘r’ in the month

Don’t change a clout till May is out

Waste not, want not

Never gift a knife to a friend (It will cut your ties)

If a coal falls from the fire, a stranger is coming

Don’t believe everything you hear

Seeing is believing


The rules we lived by

Before we had internet or mobile phones or colour tv

Before we knew, for better or worse

That no matter how complicated it might have seemed

Life would never be that simple

Ever again



The wind did turn, leaving us to face the ugliness

And the rain came down, the wicked were blessed

Hope was lost, our growth stunted

Our hair curled and uncurled

As colours clashed and on reflection

A strange underbelly was revealed

We consumed in excess when we knew it was wrong

Changing everything

Piling wasteful want

Onto wanton waste

Knives out, ties cut, sparks flew, strangers fell

As we followed the herd

Saw too much, believed too well


So I am turning back to times past when all was lost

And my novena is this

Today, just for today

Let everyone in the whole wide world


With eyes coloured

Only by love

With hands and minds


Only to be kind


Because miracles can happen



“Credos” was shortlisted for the Cúirt International Poetry Prize 2017. It was first published in ‘Tools for Solidarity’ poetry pamphlet in June 2017. This poem was also published in Anne Casey’s poetry collection, “where the lost things go” (Salmon Poetry, 2017).


Artwork by Jackie Benney. Published with permission of the artist.