For Rita With Love

For Rita With Love is a moving poem written by Pat Ingoldsby. It tells the story of a young girl, who we are led to believe has some form of learning difficulties.

Ireland’s 100 favourite poems

However, her loving nature shines through and the writer suggests that she is too trusting and kind, and will be vulnerable to people hurting her in the real world.

For Rita With Love by Pat Ingoldsby. Image copyright Ireland Calling

For Rita With Love

You came home from school
On a special bus
Full of people
Who look like you
And love like you
And you met me
For the first time
And you loved me.
You love everybody
So much that it’s not safe
To let you out alone.
Eleven years of love
And trust and time for you to learn
That you can’t go on loving like this.
Unless you are stopped
You will embrace every person you see.
Normal people don’t do that.
Some Normal people will hurt you
Very badly because you do.

Cripples don’t look nice
But you embrace them.
You kissed a wino on the bus
And he broke down and cried
And he said ‘Nobody has kissed me
For the last 30 years.
But you did.
You touched my face
With your fingers and said
‘I like you.’

The world will never
Be ready for you.
Your way is right
And the world will never be ready. We could learn everything
That we need to know
By watching you
Going to your special school
In your special bus
Full of people
Who look like you
And love like you
And it’s not safe
To let you out alone.
If you’re not normal
There is very little hope
For the rest of us.

For Rita With Love by Pat Ingoldsby. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Ireland's 100 favourite poems

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