The Break of Day

People deny the wrong they do Blank blot out don’t see Private wrongs are hidden away I am presentable me   Until I have to stand in court And face the evidence The public knowledge of my deeds The shame of my offence   I saw interrogation true A policeman brings to light All theContinue reading “The Break of Day”


My son is my anchor. Now in my old age I anchor myself to my son. He is my flesh and blood. I love him most of all in all the world, though love is not a competition. Today my son has left the country: But not for long. He has crossed the border intoContinue reading “Anchor”

Faithful Servant

My father was in hospital four days before he died. When he died I didn’t know I had so many tears. I cried a waterfall. My mammy pushed a hanky over towards me, and misunderstanding her kind gesture, I shouted at her, ‘Leave me be. Let me cry.’ My father’s dying was the first closeContinue reading “Faithful Servant”


When I was a young priest, sometime in the 1970s, I was sent on a parish mission somewhere in the south of England. I visited an old lady, a widow, who in my memory was dressed in black lace. She had grown up in aristocratic circles, her family in the diplomatic service, and in theContinue reading “Impressions”

Soul Searching

No wrongdoing goes unpunished The pain is in the deed Even if the law does not catch you Even if you escape imprisonment Even if you are never brought to trial You do not escape scot-free   Misery will haunt your days Your soul is lost to joy Happiness has left your house No longerContinue reading “Soul Searching”

Written In Heaven

  My house is a Scriptorium A silent writing place A medieval monk am I In a quiet writing space Marks I make on paper Biro now my quill Words to leave for others to read When all my days are still   The garden gate engraved ‘aged 9’ Penknife now my pen ‘BF’ scoredContinue reading “Written In Heaven”

Rain on my Parade

Strong winds and heavy rain Confine me in my house I did not see this coming Like Robert Burns’ poor mouse   Give us this day our daily bread My cupboard store is bare No bread for Brian in the house today No point in saying the prayer   I love brown bread and sodaContinue reading “Rain on my Parade”

A Voice for Today

If I were a contender on television’s Master Mind, I would choose as my specialist subject the pope of the First World War. Often referred to, as the ‘forgotten pope’, Giacomo Della Chiesa, or Jimmy Kirk in Scots English, became Pope Benedict XV on 3 September 1914. He was 59 years old. He died in 1922 ofContinue reading “A Voice for Today”

Old Age

It’s nice to die of old age My mammy had plenty of that And the good health to go with it Until the final lap And as the Irishman said Thank God she didn’t die of anything serious Thank God indeed she didn’t Just the weariness of age As she breathed that final minute  Continue reading “Old Age”


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