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a brazen ecstasy which begs
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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

For me, Ash Wednesday always reminds me of our former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who would get Mass and the obligatory ash mark early in the morning. Where most people's mark would fade gradually during the day, Bertie's would fade and strengthen, fade and strengthen throughout his day's engagements. A bit like stigmata, really...

Where did Bertie keep his ashes
to top up his mark of Lent?
Did his aide arrange small stashes
everywhere the fecker went?
Did he stuff them in his pocket
after Mass, when he was leaving?
Did he keep them in a locket
like a widow who is grieving?
Did his secretary buy them
and secrete them in her bag
till he needed to apply them
when his penance seemed to sag?
All the papers would wax lyrical;
some claimed it was black paint!
But perhaps it was a miracle
and he really was a saint?

Incidentally, if you haven't already done so please check out some of the latest Poetry Bus riders this week here!!


  1. As an Anglican at a Roman Catholic school, Ash Wednesday was one of the worst days of the year. All my Catholic friends would queue up in chapel to get their ash mark and we sad few Protestants would just have to sit and watch. Oh, the covetousness. I'm sure theirs lasted all day. In my mind, anyway.

  2. can't say I noticed that before - hilarious!

  3. I always have a conundrum each year - I don't want to wipe off the ashes so soon as to look ashamed, but I don't want to leave them on so long as to look too pious. And the whole thing is silly really since I have a fringe that covers the ashes anyway :)

  4. quite amusing! maybe he took a bit off when he first got them to save for later when they started to fade!