Ár NAthair (Our Father)
by Brian Doyle, from his collection Epiphanies & Elegies: Very Short Stories
It was my grandfather who taught me the prayer
One sunny morning sitting on the front brick steps
As cars and dogs and children went passing by.
Atá ar neamh, who is in heaven he said, though
Of course He is no He at all in the general sense
But is us and everywhere and that’s a stone fact
No matter what your gramma says, don’t tell her.
Go naofar d’ainm, hallowed be thy name,
Go dtaga do ríocht, thy kingdom come, which
It is already, as we see just by paying attention.
Go ndéantar do thoil, thy will be done, ar an
Talamh mar a dhéantar ar neamh, on earth as
It is in heaven. Tabhair dúinn inniu, give to us
Ár n-arán laethúl, our daily bread, and agrus
Maith dúinn ár bhfiacha, forgive us our debts
Mar a mhaithimidne dár bhféichiúna féin, as we
Forgive our own debtors, which huh we have none.
Well, the prayer as usually promulgated then goes
On to say agus ná lig sinn i gcathú, and lead us not
Into temptation, but that’s a cruel and foolish line
And I will not teach it to you. So, ach saor sin ó olc,
But deliver us from evil, and right there we really
Should say please, but we are Catholics, boy, and no
Polite at all one bit. And then we finish with amen.
Which let us say it together as men do, so amen!
We said together sitting smiling watching the parade
Which forty years later I do with him still in my heart.