Patrick Bolger


Those damn boys. Occasions of sin.
He once told me. Cardinal Desmond Connell,
prince of the roman catholic church.
He nodded, leaned his head to one
side and tried to hold my hand.
He was sorry. He said.
At the age of 31, I sat alone in
the High Court of Ireland. On a leather
seat, dark wood, the skin around my nails
bleeding. I sat. Waiting. For the offer.
On this settling day.
I was assured that my voice, would never
be heard by the High Court of Ireland.
In the absence of compassion and
apologies, they bring forth money.
Trading in their own currency. The roman catholic church.
Where my bitten nails sit, I shake.
The offer is put to me, I should
accept, I am told as they will never go
higher, without proof of penetration.
Without proof of penetration.
The eight year old boy, me 23 years
before this day, should have collected
evidence. Evidence. My blood. Or his.

Blessed are those who have not
seen and yet believe.

This is the Roman Catholic Church
This is the institution that moved Thomas Naughton
Of the Kilteagan fathers
From Africa to the West Indies
From the West Indies to Aughrim Street
From Aughrim Street to Valleymount
From Valleymount to Donnycarney
From Donnycarney (via Stroud) to Ringsend.

(Stroud was a spiritual therapy facility for paedophile clergy)

This is the institution that wanted
‘Proof of Penetration’


This poem first appeared in The Children of the Nation: Working People’s Poetry from Contemporary Ireland edited and introduced by Jenny Farrell (Culture Matters, 2019)

Patrick Bolger © 2019