As someone who enjoys writing I regard poetry as the most difficult form of writing. I am no good at it whatsoever and I have enormous admiration for those who write poetry. Here is an excellent poem about Brother Walfrid which deserves greater exposure online. All credit to Peter Sloan for writing it.

From Ballymote to Paradise

Who were you Andrew Kerins
What horrors had you seen
Before your exodus to Glasgow
Just a boy of age Fifteen

The “Empires Second City”
Such depravation and disease
You hoped you’d left it all behind
Across the Irish Sea

Ballymote was home no more
Its desolate fields lay bare
Its people starved and ravaged
What survived was faith and prayer

What led you down your path to France
Now a man of Twenty four
To become a Marist Brother
What would your future have in store?

God called you back to Glasgow
The year now Eighteen sixty eight
To teach poor Catholic children
Put “Penny dinners” on their plates

You knocked on doors to ask for help
Soon many doors were opened
Eager men would come to aid
Those souls profoundly broken

And so, November Eighteen eighty seven
A group of visionaries did meet
At St. Mary’s in The Calton
On what was then called East Rose Street

“We have set afloat The Celtic”
These words Brother Walfrid said
To feed our needy children
Afford new path for them to tread

Hard work begun, a ground was built
Two thousand waited at the gate
To see the Celtic take the field
Late May of Eighteen eighty eight

The shirts they wore were Green and White
With a Celtic Cross upon its breast
They beat the Rangers Five to Two
A win to savour and digest

Those men like Conway, Glass and Welsh
And all who came together
To fulfill a Marist Brother’s dream
A dream to keep alive forever

God bless you Brother Walfrid
And your legacy so great
The descendants of those souls you saved
Still stream through Celtics gate

Peter Sloan

St. Patricks CSC Lisburn