A poem by Donnacha Bushe

Donnacha Bushe is a Dubliner who lives and works in Galway.

With Sarah O’Toole he cowrote “The Heroism Hotline”, an office-based satirical play that had a successful run in the Town Hall Studio.




A skeletal elderly gentleman

Chants a grovelling hymn in despair

To his elusive God of compassion

Who just possibly mightn’t be there


When God’s mercy seems unforthcoming

The chant turns to a whimpering wail

You try chanting on message

When your body’s about to fail


What sins can he regret now,

To spare him Satan’s curse?

The theft of a neighbour’s bedpan?

Sarcasm towards a nurse?


The sins he’d like to regret now

He missed the chance to commit

He should have gone for them years ago

Before his body turned to shit


He tries hard to stop thinking and wailing

And return to his sweet plaintive chant

On this, his last day on the planet

It sure beats an atheist rant


Still his doubts leave him tormented

As he considers that nondescript plot

And the words of Bertrand Russell

When I die, I rot.


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