Two Poems of Paul Durcan

  “Let the Hierarchy Go Play Croquet in Honolulu”

I was playing for the Over 50s
In a football game against the Under 50s
In the park on the quays
When the referee broke the news
That the priest with two children had told the archbishop
To take a running jump for himself,
Bernadette’s sweet, decent priest with the fork-lift smile.
We continued the game and: in the dying seconds
I scored the winner with a header,
A spurting, ecstatic header
No crimson hierarch
Would have divined, much less celebrated
The art and the mystery of,
Not even a primate of the hierarchy
Taking a running jump for himself.
As my head made contact with the ball
I knew I was doing it. for the priest with two children,
That sweet, decent man with the fork-lift smile.
If only Bernadette had been alive to see my goal
But she had died of a heart attack
Watching the pope’s funeral on television.
Let the hierarchy go play croquet in Honolulu:
Grass-skirts, mallets, hoops, balls;
The whole jing-bang hula-hoopla.

The Irish Times, 17 Dec. 2005, Weekend, p.10.)

  “Bernie” [i.m. Dermot Bolger’s wife]

A blackbird on a wire above the tree-line:
We can see her but we cannot hear her.
What is she doing so far away up there?
All we ask is to hear her song again.
She holds her head high above the tree-line
Over moors of bog cotton and golden furze;
The wind changes, now we can hear her voice;
Her song rising and falling above the tree-line.
“I will never die, come what may:
For in you, my love, I live and in my sons;
Just as you and they were life’s gift to me,
You and they now must take me as your gift
That in the niche in the hallway of our home
You will keep in a Matrushka Doll
Or in a small round bowl woven of golden straw;
I will never die, come what may.”

Irish Independent (30 May 2010) - with a report on her funeral by Jerome Reilly -online.

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