Tag Archives: confession

a paragraph from the second chapter of Francie’s Chronicles

All of a sudden I heard behind me the sound of the master standing straight up, making a terrible screeching sound, as the pew he was sharing with the Principal was driven back a few inches into the knees of Tom Connolly’s mother, who leaped straight up and hit him an unmerciful clatter with her bag across the back of the head, by way of pure instinct at having her ankles nearly cut from her. She was a feisty woman was Ms Connolly and a fine looking one at that. I was sure there was more than just my class in the church that night who thought it was about time someone hit a belt to that auld master after all the beatings he had dished out to us and the generations of our brothers before us. I was hoping the whole gallery would erupt into a round of applause but instead the big lump started to shake and tears flowed down his cheeks in torrents. His tears didn’t empty the room in my head that I had locked away until the day I could get my own revenge on the pitiful excuse for a man. He made a run for the back of the church with Ms Connolly and the rest of the adults looking at him and me eyeing in a most peculiar fashion Ms Connolly who had a lovely way about her altogether, I was sat there in a bewilderment within myself about whether I had another sin to confess.

Francies Chronicles a paragraph


“We are all born with original sin on our heads and looking around this classroom, some of you fine specimens obviously had it worse than others. The holy priest, most likely my good self, cleansed you lot, the best he could of the sins of your forefathers, when you were innocent babies in the sacrament of baptism. But now it’s time to wipe the slate clean again and it will take some cleaning for some of you.” Father Murphy wasn’t the worst of them really, Nan didn’t give out much about him so that was some kind of a good sign on his behalf, because Nan usually cut the socks of the clergy even worse than she cut the rest of what she called the privileged gobshites. I don’t think she realized gobshites was a curse word because she never blessed herself after saying it, the way she would when she used the other words I was forbidden to know, not to mind use. How I was meant to not know them when her-self and Daddy used them constantly, was beyond me. Mammy used get shocking upset with my father for using them while my-self and the brother were in the room. The only one she would permit herself to use was “feck” and that was always when she was giving out socks about Daddy and even then she would bless herself and call for the forgiveness of the good Lord who is up in heaven. Much like I will have to be doing myself within the next few months for the first time.   “Yes Father” the rest of the class say in response to some question the Holy Father has asked. That Micheal O Suilleabhain catches my eye from across the room and sticks his tongue out at me. A right class of a full idiot so he is, him with his white collared shirts always done up tidy with a blue tie wrapped around it like some sort of Nancy boy, while the rest of us look like we have just come out the far end of the worst hurricane ever to have hit the town of Ceannais Mor. Not that a hurricane has ever actually hit the town, as far as I know, but sure there’s no harm in wishing for a bit of excitement now and again. Of course the mother goes on like he is a great chap altogether.

(c) Frank McGivney 21.01.15

Poem: The White Dress

The White Dress

(Her First Confession)

Blessed with water, wrapped in blankets of white

Their tiny hands held our hearts tight

Filling our souls with joy

The pink of a girl or the blue of a boy

Wax dripping from the candle

That takes its place upon the mantle

Of homes that they light

With smiles that shine in their eyes bright

As school friends, they gather once more

Lined up with family in the pews pure

God’s gifts blossoming to flowers

In the town of Loyd and Round Towers

Bless me father for I have sins so mild

The pranks and tantrums of being a child

Holy Father cleanse our innocence

Pray hear our words of penance with your benevolence

I’m Sorry God, Connected

Songs sung as parents reflected

On the wonder of their flock of Belles

As fair as any page from the Book of Kells

The kind words of the Priest

Permission in lent for a treat

Cleansed and pure wee doves

Ready now for the white dress and gloves

© Frank McGivney 10 March 2014