Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Irish Referendum 2018

“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned”: Yeats


I saw Ireland hanging naked in the rain
dead to her faith
a miscarriage of justice
scrawled upon her skin,
death by referendum.

Why use long-fought freedom
to ape the English sin?
When “the centre
cannot hold” what is to be done?
A woman with an empty womb
hangs in a muddy sky.
The old country is not a home.

Julian O’Dea



In Irish not simply Máire
but Muire for the Virgin Mary
like murine for a mouse
in Bethlehem the “house
of bread” bred Christ
to feed the ages then
snug as a dormouse
in a Roman glirarium
fell asleep to rise
from her Dormition.

Julian O’Dea



Rain falls like Monica’s tears
for her child, or the pitter-patter
of an innocent heart,
on the tin roof as a chaplet
of beads.
Patient, like love a given,
enduring enough to soften
a heart of stone.

Julian O’Dea

The Wise Men

The Wise Men

The Magi travelled to Palestine
on camels and a government
grant from the Parthian Empire.

Cheated in the camel market,
loaded high with scientific gear
and a few gifts from the royal store;
they let theory guide observation.

Herod got his Brains Trust on
the job, and provided some
peer review; and off went the three
nerds, to follow the Star to Bethlehem.

And “when they saw the star,
they rejoiced with exceeding
great joy”; because their calculations
were correct, and their funding
justified, and their report to
the Imperial Chief Scientist
would write itself.

God sent an angel like a Divine
email to warn them not to return
to Herod to share their exciting
ground-truthed data, because
they needed to be told the obvious.

Julian O’Dea

The Return of the Patriarchy

The tough Alabama and other State laws in America virtually banning abortion are causing a frenzy among progressives and feminists.

Women only have themselves to blame.

And both men and women are calling them to order.

There used to be a social contract: men endure the risks of work and war; women endure the risks of childbirth. But women have dropped their bundle while expecting men to continue with ours.

Women have abused a “right” to abortion, which was only ever meant to be used in extreme circumstances, to have their unborn children killed in huge numbers.

This has taught men and conservative women a lesson: women can’t be trusted with too much freedom.

Time for a bit of patriarchy.

Good Friday 2019

Good Friday 2019

The bees of Notre Dame
survived the fire and hum
their ancient chant: 
“to work is to pray,
to work is to pray” …
we will gather sweetness
from the flowers
of Sainte-Chapelle today,
and make wax for Easter
candles in our home.

Julian O’Dea

Notre Dame

Notre Dame, April 2019

Life holds out 
a blackened branch
Notre Dame is burning.
Where is my heart?
Dying in an upstairs room.


Julian O’Dea



God took a bone from Man,
a single line from a poem,
and fleshed it out to make
a refrain, Woman, so the duet
began in a thousand tongues,
though all the beasts were mute,
till the birds began their songs.


Julian O’Dea

A comment and another old picture of women

A recent comment on a photo showing the way women used to be but are now:

” You feel an intense sense of loss, but you feel better because you know things were better once, and you think, you start to believe, that somehow there can be a restoration of that better state – after all, here is the proof, sitting right in front of your very eyes! “Things were once nice like this, surely they can be again, right?” “

Good comment, and here is another old photo of how women used to be:

1957. Leeds General Infirmary, England. Prayers at the start of a shift.

“thou sluggard”

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”

Christ had a disciple

who was a drunk.

He could have been an

apostle but he was

always drunk.

Too drunk to deny Him.

Too drunk even to run away.

Too drunk to write a gospel,

even a short epistle.

All day he lay drunk by a date palm,

just watching the ants go by.



Julian O’Dea