Longlisted Poem 2015

Ellie Horsfall-Tait

King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham


Plastered white are the four sides;
Rustically  applied, not neatly or with care.
The archway shelters the iron-framed bed, besides
Which sits a hard, wooden chair.
The manless crucifix hangs above the bed
Where, for the sins of the Earth, Jesus bled.
A quartered window reveals a garden;
Hyacinths and rosemary fill this small Eden.
Yet the paradise is bordered by walls on high.
Red brick and cement
(Of course, this is the intent)
Remove the world and have them look to the sky.
This is no cell designed for the cruel and wicked,
lt is by choice that nuns arrive to be committed.

“Hail Mary, full of grace” prays the sister to her Lord.
The tapestry on which she kneels
Gives her little comfort. Worn and unrestored
The greek-style pattern repeats in reels.
But this is not the focus, for the room is unimportant;
Its bland complexion gives the disciple a quiet moment.
She reflects on her sins, her wrong-doings  and her faults,
She asks for forgiveness and the Virgin Mary she exalts.
A life of chastity and goodwill to all men.
A life of love
For the God above,
Striving to achieve purity and zen.
When her convent life ceases, she will ascend to Heaven
“The resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen”.

© Ellie Horsfall-Tait

Project Details

  • Date May 26, 2015
  • Tags 2015 Cells - Longlisted Poems