Faith Of Our Fathers Living Still Poem by Barney Rooney

Faith Of Our Fathers Living Still

Rating: 5.0

Faith of our Fathers living still
in spite of dungeon fire and hoary
old pulpit tales at the mission
in spite of a church militant that forgot what
it was fighting for
old men in afternoon slumber
too easily lose the will to fight
when youthful zeal is tamed by time to the easier feel
that if let be to see god’s light most ills heal
why make a holy fuss
over the faithful queuing up to try
to squeeze their hefty haunches through the needle’s eye
or take their leisure with unbridled pleasure
surely a knowing forgiving god would just relax
go easy on that endless test
of pure old Ireland succumbing to the sins of flesh
when pride covetousness gluttony envy
had been taken off the deadly list
the taste for temporal wealth refined from rougher grist
and lust was proven to be more than you could trust
that youthful vow of chastity to resist

in spite of the church penitent tendering its forgive-me pleas
though for ones you’d take as used to praying
they didn’t look too comfy on their knees
god, we had no illusions about the nuns
gliding along glowering with goodness and grace
they confessed maybe hoping to be paid
in what they preached
mercy honoured in the breach
despite the healing and the work to teach
but somebody had to do the women’s work
bottle up all that sublimated maternity
to slake a thirst on the road to eternity
log in the discarded children with whispered names
to cleanse the headbent flock of shame
see out the discarded old in bedsored wards
until they breathed their last
cold boned fingers interlaced with rosary beads
so Peter knew to let them pass
the sisters were but the beginning
behind closed in walls and polished pine
the scent of soap and simple irish food
the elite practitioners in the art of being good
were bound to tease the occasions of sin
test temptation to see how far they could
run the devil and win
breaking every rule
children at their mercy
in the penitentiary schools

in spite of the church omnipotent
behind heavy closed doors and polished mahogany
swinging those censers
til the holy smoke was thick enough to choke
but incense was hardly dulcet enough to cloak
that other worldly scent of smouldering sulphur
well, we’d been warned such would be our eternal fate
if hesitation left contrition one secondlate

but the church eternal could take sin in its stride
time being on its side
and with an omnipresent all seeing god you’d think
what was there to hide
this one true holy church
took us from the old ways
through the dark days
beckoned us up through the field at Liganiffran
for a stolen mass beneath a blackthorn tree
along wet stoned paths to misted hills
that took the flesh off pilgrim knees
the pain, the people, the nation and the church as one
and when the pain gave way
no angel choir to trumpet this new dawn

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Topic(s) of this poem: religions
Chinedu Dike 21 January 2020

Well conceived and nicely brought forth with insight. An insightful piece of poetry written with clarity of thought and mind. Thanks for sharing and do remain enriched.

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Kelly Kurt 31 March 2015

A truly well crafted piece. Thank you for sharing.

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Noreen Carden 24 March 2015

Wow Barney you covered a lot of sad territory here I like the use of faith of our fathers as title and first line terrific write well done

2 0 Reply
Noreen Carden 24 March 2015

Wow Barney you certainly covered a lot of sad territory here terrific poem well done

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