Keane of Kilnamona

                        The Mathematics Man



You were the mathematics man

With chalk at the blackboard

Wrestling and jousting with

Lines, arcs, parabolas;

Algebra, Calculus,

Coordinate Geometry

And definitely no slouch

When it came to Trigonometry.


You had your other side,

You could say to every mother,

‘We won’t talk about fees,

Simply send them on the double!’

So we ate and drank Physics and Latin

Topped up with the most tuneful Irish,

Thrown in from the very first day

By this rare, genial Brother.


With sincerity and homage

I find myself scribbling these line;

You stand as straight as a tall pine

Among the scatter of boys you command.

Whether in the classroom

Or on the fields where we hurled

You had no equal as teacher or trainer,

In my view, and that’s the plain truth.


And weren’t we the lucky ones

That your like was to be found;

Working, indeed beavering, on our behalf,

And for each family around.

‘Twas you had the most loving regard

For the scholars of my own time.

My brightness and my sturdiness,

How you bring sweetness to mind.


I never once heard fall from you

Any word that might condemn

Without a smile, a smirk on your face,

Though you would never, ever, let it expand.

And for all your intellect, your brains,

And I say this with stress,

You had time too for every stray rogue,

Even the loafer, the waster with no case.


Brother of all gentleness and light,

Your time has reached its end.

May you find now a place among the angels

And the saints, you so richly deserve.

No way can I, with even the loftiest praise,

Though it be done with full voice and heart,

Surpass the influence you had on our youth,

Which blossomed and flowered on your part.


updated March 2014