the Irish I knew

AshWall

Born into this world seventeen days

before the crash of ’29,

he was a contender,

a fight’n man,

not a troublemaker, mind you, but

you knew what I mean;

life’s no bowl of cherries, and for a while

it was like him against the world,

even later on, after the War,

to keep his family fed and well-heeled.

He never kiss’d no blarney stone, him,

nor anybody’s arse.

It was a hard world he came into

a Jersey boy

hard work’n man

with a woman who loved him his whole

dam life, and the Church to

back him up, as he needed so much

grace and mercy

to balance out his rude legacy upon the world.

Oh, he was a well-built man, stronger than Ulysses

and pretty dam smart too, an engineer.

A man who built bridges,

although he might have burned a few too

if you know what I mean.

Hell, it was men like him who built

America.

So here we stood today in southern shade

gentle breeze blow’n from somewhere far away

eighty-six years after the fact

of his life, which has passed into eternity.

The nine+ souls gather’d round,

grown up now and left behind

to contend as he did with every dam thing that’s wrong

with this world.

Now here’s the dear friar waiting patiently,

in gentle character so different from the fierce Catholic whose ashes now

we set aside, to await the great awakening,

the communion of the saints,

a big host of them, raised up

by the nail-scarred hands of Him upon that cross

hung there upon the nearby wall.

 

All these living offspring, celebrants of their father’s recent

life,

hard workers,  nine of ’em.

They don’t make ’em like that any more–

all of ’em stay’n ahead of the game

keep’n up with the Joneses,

aint no potato famine go’n tie them down.

And the Franciscan here, like Francis himself,

so  different from

the Irishman I loved– rough around the edges he was–

when in those last days he’d alienate

his attendants at the nursing home with his

racist nuances that could never really despoil

his helpless heart of love.

He so needed the grace and mercy

of the One who went to the cross for him,

and who went for me too.

Now we’re standing here with St. Francis

with knots in his waist-rope

and I wonder what the knots signify

but it doesn’t matter compared to eternity

of which I’m reminded, as this gentle breeze with bird sing’n,

and it makes me think of the day his daughter my wife and me,

we went

to Assisi, over there in the old world

and now I’m think’n of this new pope and

how long its been since I was a Catholic.

But that’s okay. It’s all good. I’m saved by the blood of the Lamb

and he is too.

Here these ashes inside a brass box

AshBox
ashes hidden from me, not like those

smeared upon the heads of Irish on how-many Ash Wednesdays

since the day of Calvary.

We’ll be there with him, and with  his bride

by ‘n by, you and I.

 

Smoke

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: