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Local Lines : Catholics need not apply

May 18th, 2020Local Lines : Catholics need not apply

Tom Perfect had a seriously privileged upbringing within a household of love and love for learning, for the arts, sport, and surviving, where people were always visiting.

Catholics need not apply

it read, the banner

when I was a boy

You can’t catch this bus the driver would say

Wait for the ‘Roman’ Catholic bus

Knowing there wasn’t one

We were like the Jews

A tribe, not trusted

Living in our own ghetto, Doveton

Our loyalties always

lay elsewhere

it was thought

We weren’t Australian enough

the children of ignorant

Irish, Poles, Dutch, Maltese, Poms

You have strange practices

they said, like confession, fasting

And we laughed

But it made us stronger

and we became a people

with something to prove

So we clawed our way up

and so did our children

breathing in their parents’ struggle

Over the years

we were accepted and included

And then we destroyed ourselves

The betrayal was of our trust

and never our fault

but that of our leaders

Between the age of eleven and twenty one

I knew five priests convicted of sexual abuse

and later the cardinal himself

Never a victim because I had a dangerous father

I went to school with victims

We deserved better for our loyalty

Yet I still taught for forty years in Catholic schools

And made lifelong friends

of good people

We don’t want outsiders howling from the wings

and jumping on our graves

The people will rebuild from the ruins

– Tom Perfect

Tom Perfect had a seriously privileged upbringing within a household of love and love for learning, for the arts, sport, and surviving, where people were always visiting.

Poems for Local Lines come predominantly from a group of poets. However, other locals who would like a poem considered for publication can contact Bill Wootton – cottlesbreedge@gmail.com



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