Friday, December 14, 2012

Two Poems From An Old Friend

I wrote about my old family friend John Sheehan a few weeks ago.  While looking through some "Keepers" from my mom, I found some of John's Christmas poems.  He was a Christian in the truest sense of the word.  The Red Letter variety.  He lived his life to serve others.  He was a priest, then an ex-priest, a teacher, a poet, a good, good man.  I didn't realize until recently that John had published books of poetry.  It's good thoughtful stuff.  

Give Us This Day by John Sheehan
If I have a loaf of bread
Leaving Gary, by John Sheehan (Tia Chucha Press)
and my brother and sister have none
then I owe them half
even if they do have a gun
I just might not realize
how much guns had to do
with my having the bread
in the first place
from Elsewhere Indiana

Here is one dated 1966.  The note on the bottom says it was from a mass he said at Christmas time.  Put yourself into that time period.  The Vietnam War, The Civil Rights Movement, sit-ins, anti-war actions.  The paper I found in my mom's old things is yellowed.  It was printed using an old ditto machine; the hand cranked variety.  Some of you youngsters may not know what that means.  It's purple ink is fading but the crazy halfcursive can still be read.  
But would you really want
that wandering Jewish family
moving in
next to you?
Well, maybe them,
just one family,
but then the whole tribe 
might try to follow?
And first thing you know
we'd have the JEWS
taking over,
(they're worse you know),
and those strange foreign
egghead MAGI,
and dumb SHEPHERD types.
It wouldn't be long before
the bog-trottong IRISH even
with their pigs in the parlor
would push in.
And what would happen then
to our nice
Klean Khristian Kommunity?...
YESHU, baby, 
crying in the straw
be a stumbling - 

May Yeshu's star lead us where we know not and may we dare to follow all the way.   - John Sheehan - 1966


Anonymous said...


Ruth Anne O'Keefe said...

That John Sheehan. What a guy. What a poet. What a teacher.