Thursday, June 30, 2011

Personal miracles, for my father

Personal Miracles - Lourdes (mp3)

We journeyed together
to Lourdes,
to the gentle rhythm of gatherings,
immersed in daily rituals
of mass, processions and healing.
Cradled in holy retreat,
we felt safe
away from our daily life.

The hypnotic sound of the rosary
echoing through the sanctuary
the steady hum of prayers
clink of beads,
a mirage of people advancing
to a pulse of adoration.

Feet trailing behind wheels
row upon row, a rippling sea,
as candles burned into night,
melting minds and hearts.
The sick, the dying, the carers
united in personal pilgrimage.

Our daily visits to the grotto,
a shrine to Our Lady’s apparition.
Joined to a chain of people
reaching out to touch
the smooth worn rock,
shiny with caress.
Hope in so many hearts
Belief that by the stroke of their palm
they may feel the power of her touch.

I saw a miracle
in volunteers who carried you
to bathe in healing waters,
in carers, who demonstrated
love and compassion
to us and countless strangers.
It was my miracle to spend time with you,
father and daughter,
reuniting with our people from Waterford.
Timeless reminiscing over cups of tea,
your youth recalled
your face alight
as laughter tickled the air.

You did not get up and walk
but thousands walked with you.
Together there was a miracle
and we both found peace.


  1. AnonymousJuly 01, 2011

    From daughter to clearly beloved father, beautiful

  2. Rachael, thank you. I love my father so much, he is 81 now with Parkinson Disease and cannot do anything for himself, his voice is even gone now. I did share a wonderful time with him in Lourdes, it was a wonderful place for him and for me. xx

  3. AnonymousJuly 03, 2011

    Life is cruel and often cruelest to the best people
    Good night fellow Splinter and new found friend

  4. I have visited Lourdes, but couldn't come to grips with what I saw...No miracles for me, just a chain of human suffering amidst the hysteria of an old religion, I am afraid, wedded to hopes for the impossible....But your poem shows a different side to it, and if it gave your father peace, and you that comfort, well why not?

  5. Rach,
    Thank you for your lovely comments, they are special.

  6. Barbara, I did not know you had visited Lourdes, interesting that. I found the chain of human pain too but my father somehow believes that there might be a miracle, he is not religious, it has nothing to do with "God", he just believes something might be possible and we had to give it a go. The joy was seeing my father young again, laughing and joking with guys he knew many years ago in his Waterford days. He was alive with old stories and that was worth so much. Bringing him there was also a holiday of sorts for him, new place, enjoyable people, great nursing care and he loved the processions, the peace was all over him, so good to see him lose the stress of living in a nursing home. Why not was my thinking too and now he is hoping for a miracle through Pope John Paul. Anything that keeps him going is worth it. Love Maire x