The pregnant girl

By Marian Doyle – a member of Ballinrobe’s Active Retirement Writers’ group

Out of wedlock,
Conceived in sin,
Forced to leave home in disgrace.
Scorned by family,
Scorned by friends,
She set off to the destitute place.

Spurned and ostracised,
Desolate, ashamed,
Abandoned because she’s unmarried,
Condemned, rejected,
Afraid and in pain
With the infant in womb that she carried.

She cries, she sobs,
She pants, she wails
As if timing the Workhouse Wail.
Her screams of pain,
Her sighs of despair
Were heard by a workhouse female

Who opened the gates
And gasped as she did
On seeing what lay on the ground.
A mother, a baby,
Both starving and crying.
Dear Lord! What has she found!

Knowing the fate
Of this girl, if let in
The matron broke all of the rules
She wrapped and she cradled,
Then took care of mother
And saved the poor pair from the cruel

Amidst all the sad tales
Of these terrible times
Of Famine, of hunger, of fear.
A kindness in one
Who’d seen too many dying
Kept her story from Establishment’s ears.

The baby and mother
Much later in years
Thanked matron and God for their luck.
Mum told the story.
Young girl wrote the details
And now, it’s a must-read book.

The fictional girl in this poem was very lucky, others in real life would not have been so lucky.


Course: Remembering our Heritage – Ballinrobe Workhouse

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