Tom Murray

A Good Catholic

That Sunday came and went
Like any other but not.
Hours blurred by waiting
On flanked questions.
Good angels on either shoulder.

‘Is this how we brought you up?’
‘Everyone asking after you, what could we say?’
‘You don’t believe?’

The questions never came only the baffled looks.
The rigid tapping of fingers on chairs at Songs of Praise.
The concentrated laughter at Morecambe and Wise.

Atheist years rolled on and now the angels
Are with the angels.
No confession came.
No absolution.
You see how the language sticks like fat
On a stuttering heart.
It grows thicker by the years.

Sunday noon is when it bubbles and sparks
To burn.
A boy in a car on a road marked out by the accident
Of birth, of family’s gentle expectant squeeze on the arm.
‘This way.’

Sunday noon and I find myself searching photographs
Wondering if my father when he was a boy on a road
Marked out by accident of birth… Ever?
If my mother as she threaded
My arms into my straightjacket black buttoned coat…Ever?

Things I remember.
The holy row of ancient ladies chanting.
My father mourning his lost brother his own death
whispering in his ear.
The certainty that life is only the opening chapter.

Things I wonder.
What if it is?


Tom says it is a hard life being a writer! Tom is a playwright, fiction writer and poet living in the Scottish Borders. He was recently Scottish Book Trust Reader in Residence to Scottish Borders Libraries and is currently Creative Writing Fellow to Tyne & Esk Writers. He has been Writer In Residence to Clackmannanshire Council. He works extensively with writers groups, and schools having been Writer In Residence to Peebles High School and Galashiels Academy.