In this silent land

Say nothing

And keep saying it

In this silent land.

Men draped in cassocks

Possess a Nation’s secrets

To barter for souls over open graves

And we stay silent

In this silent land.


In this silent land

Hushed by conquest

Secrecy is sacred

In this silent land.

Subconscious whispers

Fill the confessional box

Where all flesh is sin

And silence is sacred

In this silent land.


 In this silent land

The sun shines

On celibate holy men

Bearing sacred staffs

Like ancient chieftains

Parading authority from Castle walls

All over this silent land.


They measured the morality

Of a Nation

In a Roman Chalice

That shone bright

On the outside

For a people

Blessed with poverty

And bowed in silence

In this hushed land.


In this silent land

Women lay bleeding

On laundry floors

In this holy land

Infants are secreted

Like contraband

From cursed wombs

In this still, silent land

 (To the memory of all of the women who were condemned to live desperate and lonely lives of shame and humiliation in the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland simply for giving birth to children they were never allowed to love.)

Photo above: Mary Magdalen by Andrea Solari (1460-1522) via Wikimedia Commons

Copyright © Seamus Ruttledge

Views: 727

Tags: Arts, Magdalene Laundries, Poetry

Comment by Claire Fullerton on March 10, 2016 at 9:50am

All the world loves a poet! Thank you for sharing!

Comment by Seamus Ruttledge on March 10, 2016 at 2:49pm

Thank you Clare.

Heritage Partner
Comment by That's Just How It Was on March 11, 2016 at 12:15pm

Oh , the shame of the Magdalene Laundries ,, no reprieve, there for life .. In my research for the follow up to ---That's Just How it Was  --- I came across articles whereby the poor unfortunate women  who would try to escape these dreadful places, were taken back by the Guárdi, despite all the protests by the women that they wanted to escape,,,,,  back they were taken 

Lovely Poem 

Comment by Bruce (B.D.) MacMahon on March 13, 2016 at 9:00pm

Well done indeed. I saw a statue for the Madelene Sisters in the series Jack Taylor and last fall looked for it in Galway. Found it on my first day there. Thank you for your poem.

Comment by Patrick J. O'Leary on March 15, 2016 at 8:51pm

A  very  well-phrased lament  for the women of the Magdalene Laundries. Outstanding !!  >>

Comment by Seamus Ruttledge on March 16, 2016 at 6:25pm

Thank you Patrick for taking the time to read 'In This Silent Land' .. I really appreciate your observations on it. Best wishes. Seamus Ruttledge

Comment by Seamus Ruttledge on March 16, 2016 at 6:27pm

Thank you to all who have taken the time to read 'In This Silent Land' .


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