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Four Poems by Donal Mahoney: "A Fine Distinction", "Monks in the Orchard Picking Peac


A Fine Distinction

What we are

not who we are

matters to the world.

Who we are

not what we are

matters when we leave it.

Monks in the Orchard Picking Peaches

Young monk

and old monk

in the orchard

picking peaches,

sunny and plump,

ready for canning.

Carrying bushels

to the wagon cart,

the young monk

asks the old monk

what to look out for

when growing old.

The old monk

pauses and says

not much.

Life stays the same

for the most part.

Monks work and pray

but an old monk

works slower and

prays faster.

But not to worry,

the old monk advises.

He admits he's

going deaf

but that's just

an inconvenience

since God uses

sign language.

Peaches like these

have no need to talk.

Good News Grips Midnight Phil

Phil doesn’t go to church

but after midnight he enjoys

watching preachers on TV

swing their bibles in the air,

march across the stage, yell

about the joys of heaven and

louder about the pains of hell.

He likes to see believers sing,

raise their arms and dance

in ecstasy down the aisles.

They might be on to something,

Midnight Phil thinks, clicking

his remote and wondering

if they could be right and if

they are, what about his bones.

Where will they lie after midnight.

Agnostic's Mystery

He looks for you until

you find him while you

wonder if he's there


Donal Mahoney

Donal Mahoney spent two summers in his college years working side by side with monks at an abbey.

He was not cut out to be a monk but they were and influenced him greatly.

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