a poetic account of the unbaptised stillborn babies in unmarked graves scattered all around Ireland

Hear that hammer hitting, nailing down your sorrow,

your still born baby silent, your heavy heart unhallowed,

motherhood murdered, O cruel, poisoned arrow.


O un-baptised baby with such indifferent eyes,

such plaintive questions, kissed tenderly goodbye;

creation heaves, your heavenly Father cries.


Guardian angels quietly watch and deeply weep,

secret graves stubborn spades dig deep,

keening midnight mothers refuse to sleep.


Accursed limbo lies! sad Cillini plots moan,

parental pain observed by silent sentinel stones,

sand pitifully exposes scattered baby bones….


Countless empty arms, countless aching wombs –

there’s no human hope to fill such a vacuum,

stillborn babies wait beyond this hopeless gloom.


Not ‘unknown souls’, as clergy wrongly claimed,

all your hairs are numbered, you are newly named,

loved by the heavenly Father, freed from such shame.

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  • Cilliní: historical and doctrinal background

    Burial sites have been discovered on unconsecrated ground across Ireland — inside abandoned churches, against boundary walls and ditches, on the shores of lakes and oceans, and on the north side of Catholic churchyards. These sites are known as cilliní, or children’s burial grounds, a place where unbaptised children were laid to rest.The medieval church created the concept of Limbo, which assured the faithful that while unbaptised infants could not enter heaven, they would not suffer in hell for eternity either. A male member, usually the father, buried the stillborn baby under cover of night.

    Other family members were not encouraged to acknowledge the dead child. The mother was not supposed to hold her baby or mourn it. The unbaptised dead were believed to be capable of malevolence, ill will and capable of bringing bad luck.

    The above information abridged from the two below links.

    By louis hemmings (21/07/2014)

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