Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Our parents' parents

We've now become our parents' parents
As they slowly slither into senility
We take their hand and guide their steps
As once they did, with humility.

Knowing well that unlike us
Their steps will not progress
For closed in ceilings
Replace the summer skies
Of hope and growth.

The world grows small in tiny rooms
Of the most expensive nursing homes
Gone the freedom and the wish
To to rush away and run.

A world that's ruled by dinner bells;
Smells of soap and polish stay awhile
While relentless time marches on
In disinfected file

They sometimes know us, sometimes not
They live in times the world's forgot
Vivid for them the world of fifty years ago
More than the present and the now.

Defend their dignity
Protect their fragility
As they once cared for us
Babies in the cradle.


We are the resurrection people

We are the resurrection people
So Father Martin said.
It doesn't matter if on this Easter
You're still curled up in bed!

Salvation is for all of us
Not just for those in Churches.
The news that Jesus gives
Is for great for every person

Christ is risen, what can it mean?
Was he heard and and truly seen?
Or maybe it's a feeling so very strong
That he's never far away all along?



Friday, April 14, 2017




Crucify him!

Reflect not on the bleeding Christ
But on the crown of thorns
We daily weave for a bloody
And a weakened world.

A world we wound with greedy nails
Upon a cross of climate change
As life lies hanging from a cross
Our last breath dies on a poisoned wind.

Three times we denied
Before the cock crowed and died
Three times we denied
That climate was our fault
We didn't know and didn't recognize
What stared us in the face.

We got a pass from Pilate
As we washed our hands, not his,
Of any thought of cutting back
To live a poor and simple life
That the poor might simply live.
Bad Good Friday 2017

Religion has come of age
Casting a long deep shadow
On the universal stage

After years of trying
At last they got it right
The world at last is dying

And we are blowing out
The eternal flame
That warms our world.

All this talk of an angry God
Was mistaken, better we
To finish what God had started.

The lights grow dim in China
As haze and smog linger
And poison clouds grow stronger.

Miami's under water since fifty years ago
The alligators swim freely
In shopping malls you know.

The polar bear has gone
His ice flow melted sooner
He drowned and met his Maker.

Greed conquered all at last
As religion said it might
Just it's not the way
That prophets had in mind.

The lifeboat of Wexford 1907

Cast a tear for the lifeboat crew
Who lost their lives to save a few
They'd never met and never will.

They gave their lives in a winters storm
That raged four days off Wexford coast
This trip their last, let's sound the horn.

A hundred years ago
A thousand storms since
And yet we will remember them

For they battled through the waves
That crashed and smashed upon them
Thinking only of the shipwrecked crew.

Today the sea looks quiet and serene
Impossible to imagine the howl and fury
Of that sad night

We shall remember them
In plaques of stone
And heart so proud and sad

They will never be forgotten
By Wexford men so true
We will salute them, me and you.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Have you heard the birdies sing?

Have you heard the birdies sing?
It's that time and it's their thing
It's a busy time, they're on the wing
Busy, busy builders while nesting.

They're chatting and chirping
Squawking, crying and whistling
With accents gathered from far and near
Their springtime chorus is so clear.

Another year, hope springs again
Looking forward to summer days
Lazy evenings lengthen, the sun reigns
Hope and courage course in our veins.

Nature takes and nature gives
And giving comes so naturally
To birds and bees and you and me
Let us embrace eternally.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Goodbye to all that

We ate and drank
We slept and sat
Raped and shat
Our only world

Funny now that
An awful orange man
Will haste our exit
Like a stern vet.

Happily perhaps
Our pain will not prolong
As nature takes nature's revenge
Quickly, increasingly
Measured now in years not ages.

Is God weeping tears on his throne
Or has he half forgotten
The willful sons of eve
The stubborn hearts of Adam?

Is it time for God to reinvent
A less willful race
And temper progress
To a slower pace?

Will sentient being die?
Will the starry universe
Fall silent once again
Save for crashing stars?

Is this the end foreseen
Two thousand years ago
By prophets seeing the end
But not the means.

Blessed be the God of silence
Who could not save us from ourselves.
Creating galaxies but unable
To really rescue man.

Blessed be his holy name
Unspoken now, our shane.
Frank McDonagh RIP


The boats are bobbing now in warm Puertito Bay
As silently his body lies in church in far Portroe.
Two thousand miles and many shores apart.
And yet I sense his spirit in the tide
That surges spumy o'er the polished stones
His spirit lives with every tide
That ebbs and flows on every sea.

Burial awaits beside his faithful Maeve
Who waited nine long years even to the day
To lie together above Lough Derg
That feeds the ocean and the spring tide
That washes up on these very shores.

It is to sunnier lands that Frank departed
Take down the sail now the gentle harbor's won
Returned a son to his eternal maker
Reward to him who toiled till later.

A gentle and a funny soul
That touched each heart he came upon
With wistful tales of human hope and folly
Of bygone days now only half remembered
Of a world long gone
And actors far departed
The empty stage
Still echoes with our laughter.

Peace at last!
Anchored at eternal rest
They're laughing now
In heaven's parlour!

Kate from Kells

A will of steel and iron
Of soft and generous heart
Appropriate then perhaps
That she married Desmond Harte

Many decades to remember
As we mourned her last December
Kate the golfer, Kate the mother
Sister, friend, and life lover.

A gift for friendship
Not spread wide
But true and close
Right by our side.

Ever ready, ever true
To lend a hand
To me to you

Knitting, sewing, cooking, cleaning
Nothing ever too demeaning
Coming, going in her blue mini
Driving deftly as in a Porsche

Baby sitting, reading, teaching
Around her kitchen table
Tea in china cups
To the chime of carriage clocks.

In Marie's bungalow o'er the bay
A modest drink at close  of day
A  lively G and T at five
Helps the sisters to revive.

Ever ready, ever able
Just ring the phone
She'll never waver. .

Simple homely pleasures
Span the rolling years
Time sits still for decades
On sleepy Dalkey streets.

At last the call of time
Has Katie in her clutches
And so the days now shorten
As eventide drew nearer.

Never dim, but always bright
Her smile lights up our day
We knock, she turns
"Hello darling" I hear her say
Just as she peers in family photos
Her voice will echo through the ages.


Christ with a small 'c'

At the motel in Cana
The man that I met late that night
signed in with me
writing Jesus with a Big J
And Christ with a small c

Seeing our fatigue the night porter offered tea
Wearily he smiled as the night clock struck three
Christ of small c
Asked, turning to me
Would you care for a beer  possibly?
So drinking together we saw in the dawn
And solved the worlds problems
Before softly heading on.

Six months later and I'm back in town
It's approaching noon and I see him again
A sadder sight, as he stumbled and fell
Under the weight of a cross by the midday bell
Weak from his wounds he once slumped to the ground
His eyes fixed on the path,
making hardly a sound
Our eyes met in a glance as he rose to his feet
It seemed then as now he said 'no' to defeat

When weeks later folks spoke of rising,
The image I found more surprising
Of a man who fell thrice,
And thrice rose again.

The victory of spirit, rejecting defeat
He got to his knees by the side of the street,
'It's Simon'I said as I offered my hand
'To rise once my dear friend
is a feat but twice
and repeat Is rising indeed'.

Some point to a Sunday
And an empty tomb
But
For me it's the Friday
And the hill that looms
Against an angry sky
It makes me ask 'why'?

Some have waited two long days
They're grieving for my friend
But Never thinking  it the end
Happy to meet and greet
When after badly falling
I get back on my feet.


PMM 22/3/15