Original : May, 1950, while walking home from Monday night Devotions at our parish church in Bayside West, Queens, N.Y.


                        At the Church


          I stayed behind a while in church to pray

                That blessed Mary intercede to sway

                The heart that brings the light to Li’s blue eyes,

                For dull they fell on me like cold grey skies

                When at her gate I babbled till I bored

                About the kind of music I adored.

                But I did nothing only sob and grieve

                And so I left the pew and turned to leave.

                Behold ! Knelt there in grey and green attire,

                The misty breath of morning, Li McGuire !

                But no, my hssts and whispered phssts were spurned

                Her eyes, so like the skies, were skyward turned.

          Well, woe is me and heavy-hearted is my fate

          When even Mary up in heaven slams her gate.



                        Ag an Séipéal


          Ach d’fhan mé thiar sa séipéal lena ghuí

                Go gcuirfeadh Muire anáil faoi an gcroí

                A dhéanann súile Lí go gléigeal gorm,

                Óir chrom siad ina spéartha liatha orm

                Is mé ag labhairt ag a geata léi

                Ag clabáil ar an gceol a ghráigh mé.

                Ba théis mo dhóthain agam d’osnaíl ghoil

                A d’éirigh mé ó m’áit is chas le dul.

                Ach féach ! Ar a glúine siúd go fíor,

                Í féin, beos ceo na maidne, Lí níg Uidhir !

                Ach diúltaíodh mo huít i gcogar di

                A  súile  spéiriúla  sa  spéir  aici.

          Bhuel, mairg dom is rud tromchroíoch do mo léan

          Ó phlabtar geata  fiú  le Muire naofa féin.

Translation: 28 Dec. 2003

                                                                        Raymond J. Clark/ Réamonn  Ó Cléirigh



Comment: This is a form of sonnet I saw in books in high school. I think the rhyme scheme is as I first saw it. I used this sonnet form before I switched to a nine line form, and then made changes in the rhyme scheme there to suit myself.

Though you might not notice it at first, this poem is about a bungling boy. He doesn't know how to communicate. He runs into problems talking to a girl he likes. She shuts the gate in front of her house and escapes inside. The boy half realizes he bungled the talking and stays behind in church to pray to Blessed Mary to help him. He receives a miracle from Mary and then with his whistling and hissing he bungles the miracle. He then tramps out of church and blames Mary for escaping in behind heaven's gate.

Do you know anybody like that?