Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Ancient Paradox Alive Today

After two thousand years 
we still have folks
who blame the Jews

for killing Christ even though
Pilate the Gentile could have 
let him go and kept Barabbas.

This would have meant  
no crucifixion, no resurrection.
Heaven’s gates would still

be closed—perhaps forever,
thus making it impossible 
for anyone to blame the Jews 

for doing what they had to do
for Heaven’s gates to open.
And those who blame the Jews 

would still be waiting for a Savior
the way the Jews await the Messiah
they believe will come.

Rewrite Man

At newspapers in the Sixties
typewriters reigned and rang.
Computers were a fantasy.

Being a “rewrite man” back then
was a dream job if one enjoyed 
“improving” other people’s copy

rather than writing one's own.
Harry Murphy loved that job.
Harry said “rewrite" let him

adopt thousands of children
rather than give birth to one.
Far less painful, Harry said.

He was the midwife between 
reporters in the field 
who scurried after facts 

and the editor who said 
a story was fit to print.
Reporters phoned in stories

in the age before laptops
and Harry the Bard wrote them.
Harry’s motto was simple:

Even an obituary deserves 
a touch of music, a polka for a Pole,
a reel or jig for an Irishman.

Up Periscope

Tim was long dead
but Opal had the story
in her diary and kept it
in a safe deposit box
all these years
after World War II.
She would die soon 
and was afraid the kids
might read it so she asked
a neighbor’s son to drive her 
to the bank so she could
read it one more time
before she burned it.

In her diary Opal wrote
that after three months 
in his submarine
Tim got shore leave
and called and told her
he’d be home that night.
She asked him what 
he’d like for dinner.
Although the war
was over, steak
was still scarce.
Pork and chicken
were possible.

Not to worry, Tim said.
Just pull the blinds 
and stand on 
the dining room table
and sway while Tim
sat in the captain’s chair.
She could take her time.
No reason now to rush.
The war was over but 
he’d probably want
a second helping.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

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