"Seven bums and fourteen legs,
a brazen ecstasy which begs
the question some of us are asking -
is Peter Goulding multi-tasking?"

Martin Parker, Editor, Lighten Up Online

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ticket for the poetry bus

Booking my ticket on TFE's poetry bus

On watching my son make his First Communion

Sporting a sharply-pressed suit my
teary-eyed wife can’t bear to bring down
to Barnardo’s when she goes to town,
he shuffled up, fingering his tie,
to meet the Creator of the Whole
Known Universe, to confess his sins
with practised spiel and lip-bitten grins,
well-rehearsed for his penitent role.

From my pew, I watch the stone-faced priest,
speaking on behalf of the One God,
absolve him with raised hand and faint nod
of his trespasses. And then, released,
the six year old boy resumed his pew,
giggling and nudging Mark Donoghue.


  1. Well, that's something else we have in common then. I'm a Catholic as well.

    I'm so happy to see you on the bus! This is a wonderful poem—capturing the mix of feelings—the sacred and the (not profane, exactly), just boys being boys.


  2. not catholic, but this captures something subtle about being a child as much as the occasion.
    thanks for sharing
    crazy field mouse

  3. You've got me thinking about all the First Comms we've done in this house (six done, only three more for confirmations), and inspired me to have a go at putting it into words.

    BTW, nice close in the last two lines: 'resumed his pew' - 'Mark Donoghue'!

  4. I love to watch the little ones come back to their seats. You've captured it perfectly, the mixture of seriousness, ceremony, and childhood.

  5. This is very lovely - especially that last line.

  6. Yes, the mixture of the sacred and the ordinary gives this such truth. really enjoyed reading it.

  7. I like the "lip-bitten grins" -- sounds like my 4 little kids, with the exception that we're Mormon and dunk 'em when they're 8!

    Nice poetry, you have a knack and I'll be back (how's that for end rhyme?).

  8. Hi Susan, Not sure about 'perfection' - I'm unsure about the first three lines and may rewrite, but thanks anyway!

  9. TFA,
    Many thanks for the inspiration. Left to my own devices, I'd probably rot.

  10. Hi Kat,

    Well, Catholic is a very strong word!

  11. CFM,
    I think the religious aspect is merely incidental at First Communion time!

  12. Barbara,
    I'm lost in awe. 9 communions / confirmations?? I only had 2 of each and they prematurely aged me.

  13. Karen,
    Thanks for that. Delighted you could relate!

  14. Thanks Niamh,
    I wonder where Mark Donoghue is now?

  15. Hi Argent,
    From a master wordsmith as yourself, that is praise indeed

  16. Hi Terresa,
    Dunk 'em? Brilliant expression!I'm seeing giant cups of tea now!

  17. fantastic!... and so completely true of the actual facts of first communion :-)

  18. I like the giggling and nudging! All I remember of my own first communion was the scratchy formal wear, the long, boring sermon, and feeling sick in the heat.

  19. Peter, If you read my entry, you'll see that I understand that.

  20. Priceless. I miss my giggling children in church.

  21. The lines about the sharply pressed suit and Barnardos are great - very tender and loving.

  22. Just loved it! Excellent parental observations and then the child riot at the end.

  23. Wouldn't it be lovely if he googled his own name some day and ended up finding himself immortalised in this poem?!

  24. Hi Watercats - the sacred and the profane, eh?
    NanU - yes, Happy memories!
    Thanks Kate, I liked it too!
    Kat - yes, I think we're both singing from the same hymn sheet!
    Willow - yes, mine never see the inside of a church these days!
    PF - That's interesting. I was a bit iffy about the relevance of them..
    Titus - thanks. As I said before, happy memories!
    Niamh - mentioned, more than immortalised, I think!!