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Poem: Saying the Rosary

Books & Poetry

In this second Poet’s Corner contribution from John Bartlett, litanies are linked with precious memories of family.

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Saying the Rosary

Each night we knelt, we four
held tight within the circle of the rosary
fingering our way through mysteries,
the joys, the sorrows of our saviour
speeding up the final ‘glory be’s’,
accelerating, arriving just in time
for News on Seven.

The family that prays together, stays
Together, until the rosary snaps,
as needs it must, and beads are scattered
each ‘remember when’ and ‘how was it when’
dispersed, stories dispensed with,
lives fading to translucent, then gone.

How brief we were a family,
how short the chance to learn
the dialect of love.

Now I alone abandoned,
the unreliable guardian
of stories my family told me.
Once broken, rosaries
are mere beads,
not blessings.

But still I do recall
that glorious mystery of
my father in his shed,
bent over from telling stories,
his hands mending broken rosaries.

John Bartlett, born and raised in South Australia, lives in Victoria. He is the author of two novels and a collection of short stories. A collection of all his published essays and non-fiction was released as an e-book in 2017, and the sequel to his first novel will be published this year. He blogs regularly at Beyond the Estuary.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to poetscorner@solsticemedia.com.au. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.

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