by Anne Porter

The nursemaid Agnes Cassidy

A woman not much bigger
Than a child
The eldest of thirteen

Came straight from Donegal

One of her eyes
Was pulled askew
Mauled by the forceps
Of a country doctor
Who had been drinking
The night that she was born

But her small flat
Unlucky face
Bore marks
Of Celtic beauty

And she was strong

Her faith was silent
And passionate

She’d gladly walk
Ten miles
In any weather
For a taste of God

And when her mother died
In Ireland

And a fierce sense of duty
Was dragging her
Back to the farm in Donegal
To help her father

She wept at leaving
The little fiery boy
Whose nurse she’d been

Whom she had named
The Fighting Irishman

And whom she loved she said
As much as she loved anyone.

“A Deposition” by Anne Porter, from Living Things: Collected Poems. © Zoland Books, 2006.

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