“Prayer” – new poem by Paul O’Mahony

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Prayer

I

They said they’d pray for me,
warmed and discomforted me.

Pray for us sinners” echoed
Get down on your knees and pray
in pyjamas by the bedside,
after I leant on the drawing room sofa
reciting five decades of the rosary
every evening
looking towards the fireplace, coal box, chess books and bibles.

Now mother’s accepted she’s the one who’ll do the praying.
No more pushing, she’s done her best.

II

To pray
is human.

My friend with cancer wrote
“I’ve prayed for my health and yours,
five times a day,

everyday.
A hummingbird whispered
Surely you can say ‘I pray for you’
Shame on you.”

Like a guilty child I stumbled
May your heart be warmed by the love you give to others.
(I wish I’d added “… and yourself.“)

III

By the river that washed the soles of Bernadette
I rebelled:

Every step of my way’s a prayer
offered in hope,
in thanks,
contrition,
desperation,
love,
in celebration of tickling mysteries.”

Now I stand in prayer, warm and discomforted,
my way, this day.

 

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