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‘Gentle as a dove, cunning as a snake.’

Popeye for the ‘poorest of the poor’,

Saint Mother Teresa was canonised today.


She played her innocence impeccably, implacably.

Now her vow of poverty is upended in papal pomp and ceremony.


Beautifully…he went home to God,

She said of the beggar who’d told her

(Quoted in her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize),

‘I lived like an animal in the streets but I am going to die like an angel.’


I know it’s churlish of me to ask,

But does it have to be ambrosia?

Is there no mezzo soul food to sup?

Neither scraping and foraging

Nor brutalised then flipped into blind faith.


Away from playing Mother to the Squeezed Middle,

The Other Theresa is hanging on in Hangzhou.

Despite the measured tone of her contralto voice,

At the G20 summit Britain’s position is vulnerable:

She could be squeezed until the pips squeak.


This Mother Theresa must forage in foreign affairs,

Calling in favours, hoping to scrape by.

Closer than she’d care to think

To the man of the streets who reportedly died in a state of grace.


Note that neither Mother has so far managed

To speak to us in a language we could call our own.