poem index

Grace

Terence Winch
Didn’t know if he was a retard or a drunk. 
He would lurch around Gaelic Park 
during game days, grinning like an idiot,
dribbling onto his filthy cassock.  First time
I saw him it was a shock.   And then his
name, which had a funny sound to it:
Father McMenamin.  The drunk priest,
the embarrassment to the whole community.
Happily staggering onto the field, being gently
ushered off again, scolded as one would a
child: now, now, father, mustn’t go there.

The shame of it all.  An affliction from God.
The shepherd, the authority, the man of the cloth
as moron, bum, joke.  The meaner ones
would buy him drinks and make fun of him.
Give us your blessing, Father.  Forgive me
my sins, Father, and I’ll give you a glass.
McMenamin forgave them all,
wondering where he was. Somewhere
far from home it seemed, searching 
for grace in the darkness of the Bronx.

Reprinted from Boy Drinkers © 2007 by Terence Winch, by permission of Hanging Loose Press.

Terence Winch

by this poet

poem

Q. How important is theory in this poem? It seems as though
it just starts, goes nowhere, tells us nothing we need to know.

A. The concern here is with necessity, not fact. The poem could tell
you everything you wanted to know, but doesn't.
Some poems begin in the rinse cycle