Gang Aft Agley

First day in the seminary

Just eleven years old

Four boys we went exploring

A corridor dark and cold

A priest was at the other end

Welcome home he cried

I knew he was being friendly

But I knew in my heart he lied


That day I lost my family

Lost my home my friends

Lost my own locality

Normal life now ends

Confined in cloistered buildings

Walled in from outside world

Latin and Greek ahead of me

Not a sight of girls


‘Two paths diverged in a yellow wood’

My life changed that day

No longer the home in Lancashire

No more the family way

Orphaned now within the Church

I retreated all within

Took me years to find myself

It really was a sin


Everyone has something

Things gang aft agley

As Robert told his mousie friend

In Mossgiel that day

And Spike he lost composure

When blown up by a bomb

Thereafter he blew up tension

With humour so aplomb


And Saul that religious warrior

Fell to ground this day

And all his proud ambitions

They too went ‘agley’

But then the film fell from his eyes

He saw the Lord so clear

And life thereafter was his joy

To live with faith not fear


Brian Fahy

25 January 2022


+ Robert Burns epitomises the life of struggle with his efforts to work a farm and to become a poet. Spike Milligan suffered shell shock from the war and thereafter could not cope with any kind of stress or tension. He either fell into depression or he punctured stress with his zany humour. Saint Paul was a dark and dangerous man to know while zeal had hold of him. The Damascus Road proved his salvation. Looking back on my own life, I was an institutionalised prisoner of religion until I broke free.


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