You could rhyme j’accuse with Jacuzzi.
You could stand at the mass grave
of the home babies in Tuam
and rhyme humus with tumulus.

But what would be the point, at the tomb
of the unknown baby?
Would it turn back history?
Would it put them back in the womb?

The soft young wombs of Tuam
that bore them all to term
in the Home, the infamous Home
that fell to rack and ruin.

*

Rock-a-bye baby in the arms of the nuns.
Rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye, the farmers’ sons.

Cradle the babby in the arms of a curate.
Cradle the babby for nothing will cure it.

Rock-a-bye baby in the arms of the state.
Rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye, it’s far too late.

The priest’s in the parlour, the nun’s at the door.
They’ll rock-a-bye, rock-a-bye baby no more.

*

Then hush-a-bye baby on the treetops.
Hush the baby until the crying stops.

Rock this house with anger and shame.
Point the finger and lay the blame.

Hush-a-bye baby on a blanket of green.
His father a soldier, his mother a queen.

Hush-a-bye baby on a blue eiderdown.
Her mother was from the wrong side of town.

Hush-a-bye baby in a makeshift bed.
His father ran off to England instead.

Hush-a-bye baby on a patchwork quilt.
The cows came home, the milk got spilt.

Hush-a-bye baby in a farmyard byre,
in convent yard and cathedral choir,

in outside toilet and bicycle shed,
Hush-a-bye, hush-a-bye, baby is dead.