An Old Rake’s Prayer On Easter In Ballina

by T.S. Kerrigan


This season of redemptive peace,
When other men are fraught with hope
And hearts, imprisoned, find release,

I close my eyes and ears to spring,
My consanguinity with earth,
Those airs the blackbirds, skylarks sing

To celebrate these days of lust
And scald the hearts of men like me,
Who see in passion only dust.

I walk my fallow fields alone,
An Adam unregenerate,
And kick away a clod, a stone.

A man apart from younger men,
My ways remain the older ways,
The spirits of the wooded glen,

Those Connaught summers, feasts and games
When farmers drove their herds of cows
Through purifying smoke and flames.


No force can keep these orchards’ trees
From bursting forth in whites and pinks
To spur the season’s revelries.

That fragrance, wafted on the air,
Has stirred my withered loins again,
I feel once more a black despair

As women’s whispers plague my nights
And mock my sad infirmity
With every dimming of the lights.

I beg relief from old desires,
To still those voices of the past,
To walk in purifying fires.


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