Hold That Tiger isn’t a hymn,” my mother
muttered under the muttering of the Mass.

Later, her Dark Tan face tint showed up odd
against the plain Tudor Catholic walls.

My son kept on about the ways they killed
priests. Who is this they? It isn’t a hymn.

A single bookshelf fronting the priest’s hole
was labelled a library. “Not much learning,”

a blonde boy said. “Douai,” said Father Guardian.
I scrambled down a ladder to the soil.

It isn’t a hymn. We photographed the monks
dressed up as celebrities by the moat.

“Where do they put their cassocks?” Big Nurnie said.
My mother slapped her sandwich down on her missal.

There comes a point when you switch off
from listening and lose someone. I traced

her back to the hole. O Mother of God,
you hold that tiger and sing her to us.