The Lady in the Cape by Fintan Ryan

 N Duggan graduation
The first time I saw her, “a second year ” had pointed out,
And he was still in awe, which kind of freaked me out
Because I didn’t think second years did awe, they’re way too big for that
But he said “don’t cross her” and most of all don’t give her any “chat”.
She was coming from the staff room, down those big limestone steps
all worn in the middle from cobble shoes and countless reps
and heading straight in my direction, I felt the need to make escape,
I froze, which gave me my first encounter with the Lady in the Cape
She fixed me with a stare, a one that felt that it could hurt,
I looked down, now feeling sorry I ‘d not tucked in my shirt
She said, “Well, who have we here? speak up now don’t delay,
I have a class to go to and I can’t stand here all day”
It’s Ryan, Miss. “Toomdeely?”. She enquired,  “I’m sure I know your mother”
I said “No, its Station Road, Miss, boasting “Hali is my older brother”!
Well her eyes went up to heaven, and with her lips she made a shape
I could see he’d already made quite an impression on the Lady in the Cape
Over five years we had more encounters and not all left me aghast,
I could see she was “for our best”, though, there were times we clashed.
For sure I know, that she expelled some boy, who wouldn’t cut his hair!
And when the football team went on strike it nearly drove her spare!
But we’d won a county final for the school and we wanted our half day!
So we pitched up on the back field, entrenched there we would stay.
But she headed up the grass, across her arm a “leather” drape
We boldly made retreat to class from the Lady in the Cape!!

Sometimes I studied in St Mary’s, didn’t overdo it, I wont lie

But between sporting fixtures my parents made me try

But colonel’s field held some attraction and passed many a free class

And a swim in the Leap as summer neared was always hard to pass

A sortie through the grave stones but you needed to move fast

Would yield a pool game in Jerusalem, now a relic of the past

All-in-all we did enough to get us past the tape

Helped in no small measure by The Lady in the Cape

And she retired but didn’t finish, out to Africa she went.
To help those whose lack of fortune, a lack of schooling meant
It must have been an odd sight, for I presume she wore the gown
To see this lady draped in black, patrol along their town.
But just like us, they must have benefited, from her love of education
For that’s what gave her spirit, and nearly drove us to damnation.
And we thank the day from Louisburg in she made her escape
To become our St Mary’s Super Hero …… our treasured, Lady in the Cape
Fintan Ryan
Nov 2018
Notes: 1. Colonels field: Colonel O Grady’s field behind St Mary’s
2. The Leap: very popular swimming area of the river Deel behind the school in O Grady’s
3. Jerusalem: Jerusalem was Madigans in the square (Betty madigans). It was a pub. It was leased out to Tommy Roycroft (from Adare I think) he had a mural on the window that looked biblical do we called it “Jerusalem “. He had a pool table and the odd day we might get there during a free class for a game!!