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Wrens in the Poplar
Donal Mahoney

There are peeps 
from the wren house
high in the poplar 
as the sun peeks 
over the roses.
Or maybe I'm wrong. 
Perhaps I hear altar boys 
reciting their prayers 
at the foot of the altar
at the start of a Latin Mass
decades ago in a church 
silent now for years.
Whether it's peeps 
or prayers I'm not certain 
until I see the cat 
hunkered like a tank
under the poplar, hoping
to receive communion.

© by Donal Mahoney.
Used with the author’s permission.



Donal Mahoney (1938 - 2017), the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He later lived in St. Louis, Missouri. Donal spent the early ‘70s actively submitting poems to print journals and enjoyed some success. He then took a 35-year hiatus from poetry to work as an editor of prose at such lofty establishments as the Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press, and Washington University in St. Louis. Upon retirement, Donal took to his recliner, and was perfectly happy reading and listening to Gregorian chant all day. After three years, however, his wife bought Donal a computer and showed him where the boxes of still-unpublished poems had been stored in the basement for many years. Thus Donal began actively submitting again in June 2008. See more of his work at




Post New Comment:
You made me laugh. What a delightful poem.
Posted 08/04/2013 09:03 PM
Love this, as I do all your poems, Donal.
Posted 08/04/2013 02:54 PM
Whoa...I did not see that coming! A clever and well done write!
Posted 08/04/2013 01:20 PM
David Alpaugh:
Whenever I check out the contributors list at an online journal and see his name the first poem I read is the one by Donal Mahoney. He never disappoints! "Wrens in the Poplar" is brilliant.
Posted 08/04/2013 10:52 AM
Janet Leahy:
Your reference to the Latin Mass is woven so well into this poem and then the communion, thanks Donal.
Posted 08/04/2013 10:24 AM
Hunkered like a tank--Yes!
Posted 08/04/2013 10:05 AM
Lovely music in this poem.
Posted 08/04/2013 09:57 AM
Donna Pflueger:
...Whether its peeps or prayers... Donal, your poem, woven with just the right amount of words, set the scene and led me to an ending that made me chuckle! Thanks for a great poem!
Posted 08/04/2013 08:31 AM
Love this poem...amusing and real!
Posted 08/04/2013 07:03 AM

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