Highlighted Writer for Week 12.5: ’Saturday Evening at St Ethelred’s’ by Kathy Low

It’s with great pleasure I announce our Highlighted Writer of the Week is Kathy Low for her stunningly understated poem ’Saturday Evening at St Ethelred’s’. It’s a beautifully crafted piece describing the inhabitants of a convent, but for me the subtle twist at the end makes the poem – how within this strict and regimented establishment, there is one tiny thread of contact with a former world, one hint of inner rebellion. Well done, Kathy!


Saturday Evening at St Ethelred’s.

            Sister Agnes irons the pristine white altar cloth.

            In the kitchen the postulant prepares plum chutney to sell after Mass.

            Fr Edmund hesitantly writes his homily to reflect today’s breaking news.

            Sister Mary Francis reverently polishes the chalice, the single red gem like a drop of blood.

            and Sister Theresa is praying to the saint whose name she chose.

            In her room, Sister Monica slowly opens the drawer of her bedside cabinet. 

            She lifts out a small glass flagon, empty now

                    and holds it to her thin chest. Her finger traces the label.

                    So many years now. 

                    Eyes closed, she gently removes the ground glass stopper

                            and whispers his name. The shadowy memories softly unfold

                            as she breathes in the faint traces of Chanel No 5.


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