Saturday, February 02, 2002

Poetry Clinic: Soldiers Of The Cross

This makes me incredibly happy: the Interfaith Calendar. So many reasons to celebrate.

Which I could use, frankly.There's been no poetry for a while. But with all that's going on here in the Archdioscese of Boston, the time seemed right for this one: written some years ago as lyrics for a song to which I never got around to writing the music...

Soldiers Of The Cross

Smoking in the boneyard before
Matins and the Mass vowing poverty
and chastity and buggered
in the vestry by the Brother
with the whiskey on his breath
his hand was limp at the Kiss
of Peace and his fingers damp
as the touch of Death he whispers
in my ear as he grinds away that I
must not cry because—

We are in training to be Soldiers of the Cross

There’s a transistor radio a-
hidden in my cell and the pains of
holy Hell for any stains upon the
bedding and there’s fire for the
liars in Confession—there’s no
room in our profession for the
ones who cannot
practice self-control and be
obedient and holy—just
remember who’s the boss—

We are in training to be Soldiers of the Cross

I will not be a whiskey priest I
will not come to grief—
I will mainline my beliefs
to sustain me in the darkness and I’ll
cast aside the last of all the worldly things—
the rock’n’roll the girls the flesh
the devil and the world I must be in
and not be of—I’ll kill
that part of me myself and I
will not mourn the loss—

We are in training to be Soldiers of the Cross

for my Old Man,
late of the Christian Brothers at Barrytown, NY

Tell me.

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