Monday, December 10, 2012

Matt Talbot's Life in Verse

[Many years ago, Christy Bracken (of Co. Tipperary, Ireland) read about the life of Matt Talbot and was greatly impressed by its turnaround. He subsequently wrote this condensed account of Matt's life in verse form. 
It is Christy's (and our) hope that this posting might possibly help someone struggling with alcoholism or advance the cause of Matt’s beatification.]

The Servant Of God.
[Matt Talbot]

Silhouetted beneath the shimmering January moon,
a lone pilgrim, his bare knees,
kissing the penitential cold of granite stone,
awaits entry to the re-enactment of the perpetual drama.

 Not so alas in his youthful days,
for those hands now clasped in prayer,
with reckless ease were wrapped around
the “drink”, and all it’s snares,
from tavern to drunken tavern,
stumble, stagger, fall,
when the demons cravings had stripped him bare,
‘twas then You gave the call.

 With hands buried deep in penniless pockets,
on Newcomen bridge he took his stand,
pleading eyes from sunken sockets,
awaited in vain a welcoming glance.
A mother’s prayers had at least been answered,
from the debts of despair a glimmer of light,
a bitter experience of human friendship
shattered, he sighed, and sought comfort in flight.

 By the fireside she sat, when she heard him exclaim,
“Mother, Mother, I’m home”
startled, she cried,“Matt, what is it, what’s wrong?”
“I’m taking the pledge”, he intoned.
“Go now in God’s name, but only if you intend to keep it”
for she well knew his heavy load,
“I’ll go in God’s name” as he took
his first faltering steps down the straight and narrow road.

 “Bless me father for I have sinned”, a new life of grace lay ahead,
three months, six, finally for life,
many tears of repentance were shed.
Temptation, isolation, discouragement, pain,
the chains of indulgence proved strong,
but his spiritual food, now his daily diet,
proved strongest as the battle raged on.

 Instead of drink, now Matt consumed,
the fruits of kindred souls,
Augustine, Wisdom, the book of Psalms,
Our Lady, many secrets to Matt did unfold.
Fasting, solitude, almsgiving, prayer,
as he rises from his wooden bed
four hours sleep, his vigil he’d keep,
eternity, to lay down his head.

 To the casual eye in the builder’s yard,
nothing unwonted seemed done,
to the wiry little man who carried and fetched,
in wind, rain, and sun.
But deep within the Master’s hand,
to reshape and rebuild had begun,
‘till out of the debts, came the constant refrain,
“Thy will, Thy will be it done”.

 Down Granby Lane, on the seventh of June,
this foot soldier stumbled and fell,
of the milling crowd that gathered around,
his identity no one could tell.
In Jervis Street Hospital, bound in chains of love,
laid bare, this pilgrim who carried the hod,
Providence’s design would reveal in good time,
he was truly a Servant of God.

                                                      Christy Bracken