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Maynooth Joy Day

MaynoothThe florist lines up peonies and lilies
as an audience of ladies
watching Grafton Street in the rain
A circus of fervid shoppers and trippers
a plump beggar mumbles through gold teeth
a busker charms jigs from a tired fiddle
in a breeze of cigarettes and candy nuts
Another shapes a dog from sand
hands smoothing ears and haunches 
as though warming them to life

Three weary English abroad
weekend cases and summer dresses
Bewley’s breakfast on marble and mahogany
full cream porridge and soda toast
Two talk of the potato famine
under potted palms and stained glass
while I conjure James Joyce on a visit home
frowning over Finnegan in the shadows
back when all these seats were modish
and tea was as tea is always

Red brick terraces and black iron railings
painted pubs with golden Gaelic names
Artists hawk their wares at Merrion Square
but we step into white serenity
tiptoe up three floors of quietude
and wait for God awhile on zafus
Scents of new carpeting and paint
wide windows on the sun and city
A statue of Sri Chinmoy waits for a home
hands folded ready and eyes agaze

We study our palms in fun to ponder the future
taking tea and fat scones at a street café
by the house where Oscar Wilde was born
A green train carries us through greenery
over the Liffey and west to Maynooth
where Lorna Byrne talks to angels sometimes
A walk through daisies to lie in a meadow 
the earth hard and damp on our backs
a window of sky through the flicker of leaves
curves drawn by swifts and lines by aircraft

Stillness at St Patrick’s seminary
pontifical university on summer vacs
Corridors of cardinals and bishops
portraits of finery and implied gravitas
Music and silence in a loft of sunlight
fifty travellers gathered in from the world
Plays made in twenty minutes
I laugh myself a stomach ache
but gone the aches and pains of life
in this makeshift family home

We fit two to a cosy attic cell
dorm windows over the cloister 
dapper gardens and grey turrets
Bells in the spire every quarter hour
chocolate cake and chattering after lights out
morning meditation comes early
Games on the lawn defying dark clouds
six-legged races and chasing the dragon’s tail
Time for a wander in roses and rain
before the last songs and goodbyes


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