Artane Boys’ School, near Dublin, 1963,
run by The Congregation of Christian Brothers.
Shed my religion here soon after faith
and hope abandoned me, unseen, unheard,
to hard-faced charity; anonymous
as monstrance smiles, rootless as autumn leaves
at these school gates. So many years ago;
I’m damaged totally, for life I sense.
All that you need to do, to comprehend
what happened, hold this mirror to my face.
Just one more station of the cross to bear
with no respite: thrashed if you rocked the boat—
and some got off on that—after they’d come
for you at night. Tripped by their second vow,
burning they fell, yet reigned, Guinness black—white,
estate within a state, as safe as saints.