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Showing posts from December, 2020

IT’S A BEAUTIFUL THING YOU ARE DOING: Christmas 2020

  This is not Samuel - A striking picture I found online I drink from your cup Eat from the bowl You left behind in the rain White and pure, soiled I dip into your absence Tasting traces of your life And search for signs Of you on the street Remembering how you prayed Out loud in the church And slept awhile to ease Away the harshness of days You played music I sang songs We were bonded there Where Jesus and Mary Make their presence felt Enfolding us in their Tent Through weather that is Unkind Unfair The above lines were inspired by the departure of Samuel (already posted in a separate blog but fit here) after I had gathered up and washed some of the bits and piece of his time here. Someone asked if he held it against me that I sent him away, if he resented me for it. The answer is below.  Right now, I’m puzzled and frazzled by the sausages that have just disappeared out of the fridge. Was looking forward to a rare fry. Went through the fridge and freezer several

DEBRIS OF HUMAN FRAILTY

  Bare tree Naked rosebush  Spiking the dawn Dripping drops of dew The tears I cannot shed My heart a mayhem of crows Swooping on a single seagull Outside in the Green Where we played by day And partied by night Until grief disfigured our joy Love fatally fractured  The man has died He who became my enemy We made our peace A defrosting  Long before it was too late Yet still a broken legacy Remains The wounds of hate  The scars of love Debris of human frailty  We must stand still  And wait for God To win the victory For us all (January 9, 2020)

I DRINK FROM YOUR CUP

I drink from your cup Eat from the bowl You left behind in the rain White and pure, soiled  I dip into your absence Tasting traces of your life And search for signs Of you on the street Remembering how you prayed Out loud in the church And slept awhile to ease Away the harshness of days You played music I sang songs We were bonded there Where Jesus and Mary Make their presence felt Enfolding us in their Tent Through weather that is Unkind Unfair

THERE WAS NO ROOM: Sending Samuel Away

“There was no room for them…” – the phrase from Luke’s Nativity is branded in my brain because I have become one who made that a reality for another couple at my place, in my time. And whatever justification I may find, however I might want to present myself in a good light, there is something lacking in the logic of what has taken place. Sunday night when I left out the bin, I was somewhat perplexed to see that another tent had been set up next to Samuel’s. Perplexed because this could mean a trend was starting and I wasn’t sure that such a thing could be allowed. In the context of the virus, I didn’t want any kind of gathering that could endanger the health of people coming to Mass. Already another man who was previously homeless, now in a flat, told me he wanted to move out and to set up a tent by the church. To him I said a very definite no. Moving from a flat into a tent in the winter doesn’t make sense. The second tent unsettled me for part of the night and in the end, I entrust

SHADOW OF THE MOST HIGH: Reflection For 4th Sunday of Advent

Gospel of the Annunciation 

WE WEREN'T THERE FOR THE CHICKEN: Memory, Gratitude and Joy

  My friend was telling me how she makes gravy out of chicken wings, the mention of which brought me right back to the winter of 1976 and the night club in the basement of the International in Salthill. In order to be granted a late opening licence they were obliged to serve food and my memory is of chicken wings on paper plates and peas that had a mind of their own, going everywhere except into our mouths. Of course, we weren’t there for the chicken and peas! It was the best of seasons, a very happy time, being still only 21 and out to taste the joy that life offered. Innocent joy, love with a lot of laughter in it and music. Smokie were singing ‘Living Next Door To Alice’, the Eagles ‘New Kid In Town’, Leo Sayer ‘When I Need You’, Chicago ‘If You Leave Me Now’, Joan Armatrading ‘Love And Affection’ – funny how food and songs stir up old memories. Lately I’ve listened to people looking back on things they regret. Regret is something that subtly insinuates itself into the experienc

ISOLATION: Nothing I Can Do But Be Here

It’ been a long time since I ate a boiled egg. Years and years, as my father would say and it’s my father who comes to mind as I crack the shell with a spoon like I did when I was a child with a kind of a delicate air. My father’s breaking of the shell was more like a beheading, done decisively, incisively with a knife. Straight across, no messing. Unless the egg was soft! In most other things my father was not like that, being decisive only about time and work and perhaps going for a pint. Otherwise, he was quiet, very gentle and almost unseen. Very non-violent. Peace loving to a fault. In these uncertain times we might long for a decisiveness that would last, for plans that would endure but we can’t be sure that any of our decisions will survive beyond the moment. On Friday I posted on our website my plans for the parish for the next two weeks. Normally I go week by week but some parishioners were asking for plans that went beyond Christmas so I made a plan up as far as January

THE CRIB OF OUR CLAY (An Evening Meditation)

Bring my thoughts home O Lord Like the herd of an African twilight Draw us in from the places Of the day where we have strayed Our Scattered minds Spun-out hearts Spent souls Settle us down That we may abide Within That I may abide With myself in You And remain here Attentive Eyes attuned to see and perceive Ears attuned to listen and hear What stirs in the unfathomable Depths Interior mystery Wisdom of Christ cradled In the crib of our clay

THE MESSENGER: A Voice that Speaks of Peace

There is no greater sorrow, no hurt so brutal, no wound so deep as that of a Mother and Father at the funeral of their child. It has drawn from them an intensity of love that they had not previously known, that they did not need to know, a love that is bereft of life, the particular life of their child. It both cries aloud and remains silent behind the mask of this coronavirus time. Only the eyes are left to tell, eyes red and wet with pain. The body trembles, feels it will fall to pieces. It doesn’t! Because this is the love that keeps on going when it cannot. It must.  She was seventeen and she died in a purple season, the season of Advent. Purple, her favourite colour. A deep, quiet and kind girl. She cut her beautiful long hair and gave it for one who had none. Thoughtful of the other.  Into this and into all our sorrows enters the Messenger! The prophecy of Isaiah that refers to John the Baptist in today’s Gospel.  God says, “Look, I am going to send my Messenger before you!”  We