Love has been loitering

down this corridor has been seen

chatting up out-patients

spinning the wheels of wheelchairs

>>>>>>>>>>>                  Read the full poem here >>>


by Emily Berry

I went swimming with the Doctor;

“A document of emergency.”

An epistolary essay on the terms of engagement between patient and doctor.

After the Hospital

He took me to the Big Fancy, that grocery store
where illusion back-lights the dairy case & everything

pulses with blue light. I shuffled the store, still unsteady,
still in my pajamas. In the snack aisle, fifty-seven kinds >>>

“When we sought a second opinion the doctor told me I was attention seeking and asked my mother if there was something going on at home that would have me act out in this way.

“I’ve had doctors tell me I was purposely not relaxing my muscles to make the pain worse,  that I was faking it and making up how painful my periods were,” said Noelle.

In The Good Mother, Moriarty writes with compelling authority about the world of hospitals; the febrile atmosphere, the logistics, the visceral reality of being an unwilling patient in a hospital bed, when you’d rather be literally anywhere else in the world. She probably didn’t realise it, but her own unexpected stint in hospital some time ago gave her first-hand experience to draw on for this novel.

A year ago, Moriarty was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, something that she is now choosing to speak publicly about for the first time.

“I had a sore knee for no reason,” she recalls. “I had iced it, taken anti-inflammatories, had physio, and it still wouldn’t go away. I was freezing during the day, and waking up at night drenched in sweat, and was exhausted all the time.” Her GP sent her for tests, and she remained in hospital for a week.

1. I read Yeats’ famous poem, The Second Coming: “
                                                     … and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”

2. We continued our analysis of Eithne Strong’s relentlessly grim epic poem, Flesh: The Greatest Sin; in which Ellen’s innocence is destroyed by the poverty and weakness of spirit around her.

3. We listened to Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s speech in the Dáil about the Tuam Mother & Baby
 from which …
“we [had] better deal with this now” because if the Government did not, another taoiseach in 20 years would be saying: “If we only knew then, if only we had done then.’ But his or her then is our now.”
And I wonder what will be the Tuam Mother & Baby Home issues of your careers that you will have to be strong about and face up to so that future generations don’t castigate you for burying your compassion, mercy and humanity.
4. We read through a few scenes from a play together: ‘Eclipsed’ by Patricia Burke Brogan; highlighting the way innocence gets drowned in the contingencies of life, and how compassion can be squeezed out of us under pressure.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the Tuam Mother and Baby Home – where hundreds of babies’ remains were discovered – as “a chamber of horrors.”