growing up as a suburban Church of Ireland child, i regularly heard the Angelus on public radio and tolled from local churches. I never experienced the pious rosary being group-recited, until i went to the Gaeltacht. that was a summer school, to improve Irish language speaker’s abilities. i never felt so alienated than around that tea-table, where it was assumed we would join that unknown pious Catholic prayer.
Summer school spoken native tongue,
verbs and sentences now not so strong;
dance steps forgotten, also Irish songs.
Angelus prayers, unexpectedly uttered,
gaelgor mangled, male awkward muttered;
our tea cooled, our toast waited, unbuttered.
Unversed in that rushed rosary ritual,
my cheeks burned, Hemmings heretical;
sentimental, saintly Marian devotional.
A Protestant, i dig spade with left foot*
– am i really Irish, do i make the cut?
spiritually separated, no if, or but.
I’m mixed bundle of contradictions,
unsympathetic of religious restrictions –
“faith of our fathers” – unfortunate frictions.
“Gaelgor” – a speaker of the Irish language
*Protestants are presumed to only dig with their left foot on the spade