Widow, mother-of-six and old
as Methusala, we altar boys
would see her every Sunday

at early Mass, kneeling
in the front row, summer or winter
wearing the one black coat. So

when Fr Grogan sermonised
on ‘The evil of foreign ways,’ we smiled
pitying the woman we thought she was

naive, brow-beaten, over-awed,
but tucked safely under the kneeling board
fresh, carefully folded, not yet read

her News of the World.