Poem for the Day: Paraclete, in the spirit of Easter

Resurrection by Harry Clarke
Resurrection by Harry Clarke

SPY Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday, the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, Easter Monday for reflection. Holy Week is upon us and rather than beggar the festival by perceiving it solely through the filter of a chocolate holiday, I’ve chosen this poem by Limerick man, Tim Cunningham.

‘Paraclete’ is the theological term for the Holy Spirit as advocate. Hark to the consoling gospel of John, 14;16, 26 [Jesus to his apostles] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever

Bear in mind the Easter, for some the most significant religious festival, is when the Holy Trinity becomes one again with Christ’s resurrection into heaven. But we are not abandoned – even in that episodic feeling of boredom or confinement in the hushed environs of sacred celebration. Pigeons get it too, apparently.


Trapped at Sunday mass, the pigeon/ Circled, fluttered and flapped above/ The serried, reverential heads.

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A fallible compass, its beak/ Crashed into pillar and beam, every/ Fluted arch. A failure too

As diamond, not cutting it/ With stained-glass windows of apostles,/ Hosts of technicolour saints.

Escaping on a shaft of light,/ He soared towards the steeple, settled/ On the gold archangel’s spear,

Scanned the street for upper rooms: / Venues for a mighty wind,/ For words smithied in tongues of fire.


Get the woody-woodpecker taptaptap on that window pane in Cunningham’s broken rhythms, and that glorious visual loop to St John’s script,  “The house of my father has many mansions”. Believe, and we can climb that stairway.

‘Paraclete’ from Tom Cunningam’s ‘Kyrie’ collection, published by Revival Press, Limerick, 2008. A White House Poetry Book.

by Rose Rushe