If God Only Knew
© Tom McIlveen

Winner, 2015 ABPA National Championship, Serious Section, Silver Brumby Award, Corryong Victoria.

I wish I could take you away Little Sis
from this cold and despicable place.
I wish I could take you away from all this…
and then vanish with nary a trace.
I’d take you to somewhere that’s sunny and warm,
where the wind doesn’t howl of a night;
away from this terrible, hideous Dorm
where they constantly argue and fight.

We waken each morn to the torturous sound
of the Mother Superior’s bell
and cringe in our beds as she swings it around
like the gong of a harbinger’s knell.
We kneel down and pray at the foot of the cross
in response to her clamorous call
and wonder if Jesus will notice our loss
as he hangs there askew on the wall.

If God only knew what I’d give to be free
of this orphanage high on a hill;
he’d probably send down an angel to me
when the demons have taken their fill.
They haunt me at night and bewilder my dreams
with their mockery, slander and mime;
then taunt me with visions of mountains and streams
from another dimension and time.

A time when our lives had been warmed and caressed
by the comfort of family love...
when we had been nurtured and seemingly blessed
by the power of God up above.
Our lives had been simple and innocent then
and devoid of all anguish and shame ̶
but now as I kneel down before him again,
I’m immersed in resentment and blame.

I’m broken and hurting and wondering why
we were taken from our own abode
and dumped like a litter of puppies to die
in a ditch at the side of the road.
Perhaps their intentions were righteous and good
when they left us that terrible day,
but now I would beg them, (if only they could),
to reclaim us and take us away. 

If God only knew of the heartache I feel
when I see you with tears in your eyes…
perhaps he would help me control and conceal
the emotions behind my disguise.
I hear you at night as you whimper and moan
for the love that’s been coldly denied ̶
and whimper myself when I’m lying alone…
till I’m empty and aching inside.

“I know Little Sis, that you’re missing your Mum
and I know that you’re feeling the cold;
your fingers and toes may be frozen and numb,
but your heart is still fiery and bold!”
I’m there by your side when it crumbles and breaks
for the want of a family’s love.
I’m there Little Sis…with whatever it takes,
with an angel from God up above.

“Remember how Dad used to muster the sheep
and you’d follow him round on the farm?
He’d tease you and call you his Little Bo Peep
as he swung you around on his arm.”
He’d doted on you from the day you were born,
with your feminine ribbons and ways,
and frolicked with you when the sheep had been shorn,
in those wonderful faraway days.

At last I can take you away Little Sis
from this cold and despicable place.
At last I can take you away from all this,
to the warmth of a mother’s embrace.
I’ll take you back home where we’ll kneel down and pray
for the wretched residing here still.
Back home… where we both will be far, far away
from this dungeon that stands on a hill.


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