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The Bishop And Ann O’Rourke

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The Bishop and Ann O’Rourke is a wonderfully funny poem written by Reverend Andrew Neaum that we thought would be perfect for our Irish Jokes category. You can read more about the author at the end of this article.

Dublin, though it’s full of priests
And has a certain charm
Is very far from heaven on earth
And peace, good-will and calm.

Archbishop Connor after Mass
Devoured its Sunday papers,
As usual full of murder, rape
And kinky sexual capers.

A long and searching read was called for
On the bishop’s part
To find good news to please, amuse
And warm his holy heart.

But as he read the nineteenth page
He gave a pious squawk.
“A fourteenth child’s been born,” it said
“To Mrs Ann O’Rourke.”

Now there’s a thing to make priests sing
And feminists perplex:
In Mother Church and married bliss
Fecund, fruitful sex!

In Ann O Rourke ‘Humane Vitae’
Has found complete reception,
Conception follows on conception
Without the pill’s deception.

He called at once his priestly dunce
And chaplain, Mike O’Toole,
“Get on your bike good Father Mike
And pedal like a fool.

“Find Ann O’Rourke to give her this
Ten pounds and bid her flourish
For granting Mother Church a fourteenth
Little soul to nourish!”

So Father Mike leapt on his bike
And pedaled, cassock flying,
Traffic lights, pedestrians’ rights,
Police and death defying.

And in a long and littered street
He reached his destination:
Dublin’s best domestic nest!
His Bishop’s jubilation!

He knocked upon its shabby door
And then stood back and waited.
It opened to reveal the Mum
His bishop celebrated.

Drawn and haggard, worn and ragged,
Drab, dull-eyed, depressed.
Of adverts for ‘Humane Vitae’
Very far from best.

Undaunted Father Mike O’Toole
Held out his Bishop’s gift:
“Congratulations, Ann O’Rourke,
May this your spirits lift!

“Ten pounds in admiration of you
From Bishop Patrick Connor
Who thinks your faith and fruitfulness
All Catholic women honour!”

Ann O’Rourke, our heroine,
The Bishop’s heart’s delight,
Wedged the money in her bosom
Very, very tight.

Then said securely and demurely:
“The Bishop’s very kind.
Especially since I’m Methodist.
How odd he doesn’t mind!”

At this the Father, troubled rather,
Seemed to change his views,
And fecund fruitful motherhood
Become despised bad news.

With grimace grim and rage enraged
He snatched the money back,
And snarled, “You shameless, protestant!
You sex-crazed maniac!”

This verse was written by the Reverend Andrew Neaum, a well travelled clergyman who during his travels in Australia became known as “ABC Radio’s “Vicar of Verse”. This poem, which is very appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day, came to me by email from a friend in Florida way back in 2010! So not only has the author been well travelled, the poem has too. Andrew is now the Anglican priest at the parish of John The Baptist in Boldre, Hampshire, which is just across the water from us here in Southampton. So well travelled but also local, it must be a sign. You can read more about Reverand Andrew Meaum on his website

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