Thursday, June 26, 2008


I would now like to offer a small poem I composed today in memory of a wonderful old man, Reverend Timothy Claver Leonard, one time provincial of the then Northern Province (St Mary's) of the Christian Brothers in Ireland.  Tim was a brilliant administrator who was very far-sighted indeed.  He set up a nursing home for the old brothers in their declining years way back in the 1960s.  He was also a brilliant teacher, a very clever man and an excellent psychologist.  However, I remember him as a great organiser who could get anything up and going - trips here and there, pilgrimages to anywhere, courses on spirituality and self-development to name but some of his endeavours.  He was an MBTI facilitator right up until his early eighties when poor health forced him to stop this marvellous work.  But the most striking fact of all were the many people who called into him in his office/room at the Oratory of the Resurrection for that little bit of comfort. Resquiescat in pace!  Leaba i measc na naomh go raibh aige choíche!

Old Man

In Memoriam T.C. Leonard cfc (1922-2008)

Whatever rock you stood upon,

Old man,

It was solid and firm –

Your brother said that you were

Always the leader,

The first through the fields

On the way to school

Seventy or more years ago.


Whatever rock you stood upon,

Old man,

You were a buoy for me,

A small light in a then dark night

When my sea was a storm of waves.


How could I forget your strength,

Old man,

Your hand that pulled me clear?

Old head that nodded knowingly

But never, never judged.


How could I forget

Now that you are laid to rest?

They have come from afar,

All your family – so many,

Your friends – as many.


Your nephews sang you down

To a comfortable rest

In a friendly soil,

Old man,

Wise old man.


I can hear their voices yet,

Old man,

A caoineadh as of old,

Making a plaintiff music in the leaves,

Wringing wisdom from the wind.


They said their song was for one

Such as you,

Old man,

For the loss of an important link

With the memories of their past.


Rest in peace,

Old man,

They shall not forget you lived,

Nor I that you were so strong.

Above I have placed a picture of a stained glass window from Mount Sion, Waterford City, the first foundation of The Irish Christian Brothers. The personage illustrated is, of course, Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, founder of The Irish Christian Brothers.

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