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A Poem by Donal Mahoney: "Never Know Who Might Be Listening"

Man Praying

Never Know Who Might Be Listening

Jim met an old friend

from college days long

after both retired.

They were classmates

on the beautiful campus

of a small religious school.

Tuition was low,

the people were nice and

the academics were good.

No one knew

they weren’t believers.

Both had kept that quiet.

But now in old age Bill

had found God and it was

driving his friend Jim nuts.

What happened to you,

Jim asked and Bill said it

happened after his wife died.

Someone told him to pray

to a God who might be there.

Bill figured it couldn’t hurt.

One night he woke up

startled in his recliner.

He had become a believer.

Be careful who you talk to,

Bill told Jim, Never know

who might be listening.


Donal Mahoney has worked as an editor for U.S. Catholic Magazine, Loyola University Press, and The Chicago Sun-Times. Retired now, he keeps busy writing poetry, fiction and nonfiction. One of the most important aspects of “freedom” for him is freedom of religion and the opportunity in this country to practice it or not practice it. Some of his work can be found at

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