I remember two schools,
neither with affection:
hard seats, leather straps
and no protection.
I remember the nuns
who taught me to write
with the wrong hand:
the Christian Brothers
with their rigid morals
and inflexible stand.

I remember two worlds
fighting for my soul—
the delights of self-will,
the chains of control.
I remember the agonies
of adolescent lust,
the guilt and shame;
and praying to the Virgin
for purity,
to ease my pain.

I remember Holy Ireland,
where all was black or white—
no mitigating circumstances,
only wrong or right.
And the Church must
now remember too,
its undistinguished role,
as it wrestles with
its demons
in its Long Night of the Soul.

Copyright © Bill Fitzsimons 2004

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