The Illegitimate

By ATMOS Collective

What does a mother do?
Is she love?
A place to hide
A warm hug
A kiss goodnight
Could she soften me,
When I am thick-skinned
Punished for honesty.

Right and wrong become a riddle
From the tongue of the holy man
who drinks from a reservoir of fear
The conniver, who seeks scratch in despair
The man on the poster,
selling cardboard dreams, sold...
To the restless.

The facade of equality
When you're born a slave
A prisoner
A criminal

A child, wondering
What does a mother do?

Dark clouds
In the midst of my sunshine
The earth cries in range of blood line,
With streams running beneath the earth
in crooked lines.

Humanity is perishing because life doesn't matter anymore
even though it still shines
Shackles of pain and depression
with fear blooming in our veins
Creating a system that houses the body but enslaves the soul
Our responsibility taken while we sit, wait and grow old.

We try to fill our reservoirs of hope
but hope itself turns out to be a myth,
As the mind straddles thoughts fold in sorrow,
worries of what tomorrow holds.
What's the point of building bridges when no one is crossing?
Gazing at the postman with envelopes,
white and brown.
Hoping to get some good news
Every morning come a fresh start of another sweet day of frustration
Infested in our minds, pushing our hearts towards the dark ends of suicide.

Although freedom looms
Still, we can't walk through
Without the curtains closing us in,
With walls that are too high for the mind to climb.
Swollen pockets rise through falling pieces of our lives,
rooted in a system they created to house
the illegitimate.


"The Illegitimate" was written about Mother and Baby homes, from the perspective of artists currently experiencing the Direct Provision system in Ireland.


Directed by Matthew Thompson.

Part of the Coole Park Poetry Series, produced with Druid and shot at Coole Park as part of DruidGregory.

"The Illegitimate" by ATMOS Collective. Reproduced with permission of the poets.