Seán Walsh: New Leaf


A priest from the Redemp’trists

gave us the School Retreat 

at the beginning of Lent.

Hell or Heaven for starters,

then the limitless mercy of God…

Frank Muldoon hasn’t cursed since

and you wouldn’t know Gerry Crosby,

he’s changed that much… 

And I went to him for confession.

Behind a screen in a classroom 

in the Primary …

Uptight I was going down on the kneeler

but he wasn’t the same at all 

as when we were all together in the Hall

and he was telling us from the stage 

that it only took one mortal sin…

So I was a new pin coming away…

Though I thought my turn would never come –

the lad before me was in with him for ages, 

whatever was up…

By the end of the three days I was walking on air 

on my way home through the town – 

dark, rainswept, dismal – 

but how was I to know? Wasn’t I in Heaven!

One hand in a coat pocket, 

fingering the beads,

and me singing me heart out 

but so low no one could hear… 

Heart of Jesus, Heart of Jesus,

Burning with love for me

Inflame my heart, inflame my heart

with love… with love of Thee…

And he did, to be sure he did! 

Inflame my heart… 

Burnt into my very soul. 

Lifted, I was. On fire!

A flame – oh, a furnace!

And then… Then?.. Ah-hh…


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