It is one of several in this room where she died
and has travelled a long way
from tree in India
where they say it was crafted to order,
(was it symbolically oak ?)
across oceans to Coolock demesne
and a lifetime later to its new Dublin home.
Just an ordinary little chair delicate now from age-
you are warned not to test it-
not unpleasing to the eye,
Is there not sometimes about Mercy-
the very art of its expression
a delicacy and precariousness as this chair
that will not bear a heavy frame,
that would not survive the full weight
of law or custom
or the brunt of economic rationalism ?
Is not Mercy sometimes a little chair
whose authority lies in its very delicacy
and its small faithfulness
of being in a room such as this day after day
while the drama of one life or two
is played out around it ?
Consider a chair:
place of rest, waiting-post,
point of authority,
creator of the wide and commodious lap
in which a child can trust.
Do you see the Mercy seat ?
Can you balance your weight to find rest
so that the chair will not collapse,
and become at the same time
that wide and commodious lap?
Such is the challenge of mercy.
(This chair and its companion have more recently been moved to the Callaghan room)