Noel Monahan – Maynooth Calling

Noel Monahan LEP&W V2 Dec 2022

Download PDF Here 13th Anniversary
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two December 2022.

Maynooth Calling, poems by Noel Monahan.

Two extracts from the long poem: Maynooth Calling, due for publication in Noel Monahan’s 9th. Collection: Journey Upstream, 2023.

A group of students, birettas on,
Stand like statues, facing heaven

 ( strophe                     antistrophe)               (spoken as if in choir)

Long corridors              many doors,

God took us here         or did He?

To be marked out        a chosen one

Took our names            assigned us numbers instead

All searching                  for something lost

Loved by our mothers    Pueri Aeterni

Word in the womb      the word made flesh

Converting myths       into day-to-day living

Carrying our heads     in our hands

Seminarians                   behind a high wall

Seminarians                   A seed sowing race

Inside the                        Pomerium

Bells toll                           you are only a number

The holy rood               fish on Fridays

Rules are rules             auto-da-fé

Birettas in our hands   birettas on our heads

Better reign in heaven            than burn in hell.

Photos hang on the walls

Faces on the wall,
Clerics like mice smiling
Look down at us,
We look up with curiosity.
We look up at them.
With Fantasies about their faces.
Reading into their lives
Dressy fellows in soutanes
Faces about to make the sign of the cross,
Faces about to sing a Hymn to Mary,
Up The Catholic faces

Praise the Lord faces.
Laus Deo
Fleur- de- lis faces.
Lines of faces in carved oak stalls,
Rotatory faces in the dust grains of sunlight,
A face attached to suffering,
A face with a poem on its lips
Ethereal faces,
Gravitational faces,
Faces singing from the same hymn sheet,
A rose window is caught in a curve of light,
A thurible sends smoke down the aisle,
A white surplice dances in the draught of an open door.

© Noel Monahan

Noel Monahan is a native of Granard, Co. Longford, now living in Cavan. He has published seven collections of poetry with Salmon Poetry. An eight collection, Celui Qui Porte Un Veau, a selection of French translations of his work was published in France by Alidades, in 2014. A selection of Italian translations of his poetry was published in Milan by Guanda in November 2015:  “Tra Una Vita E L’Altra”. His poetry was prescribed text for the Leaving Certificate English, 2011- 2012. His play: “ Broken Cups” won the  RTE P.J. O’Connor award in 2001and Chalk Dust, a long poem of his, was adapted for stage and directed by Padraic McIntyre, Ramor Theatre, 2019. During the Covid-19 lockdown, Noel had to reinvent his poetry readings and he produced a selection of Short Films: “Isolation & Creativity” , “Still Life”, “Tolle Lege” and  A Poetry Day Ireland Reading for Cavan Library,2021. Recently, he edited “Chasing Shadows”, a miscellany of poetry for Creative Ireland. Noel adjudicated The Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award 2022. His ninth poetry collection, “Journey Upstream” will be published in 2023.

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