In Break Formation
and Other Poems
The First Print Collection of Poems by Donal Mahoney
Donal Mahoney's Compulsion:
Putting Words Together to Find Music
In Break Formation and Other Poems (New Morse Publishing), the first print collection of poems by Chicago-native Donal Mahoney, was released June 26, 2023, and is now available on Amazon. Mahoney’s works have been widely published in electronic and print journals, magazines, and newspapers in many countries.
“His poetry is magic: Taking the ordinary, making it extraordinary,” one reader, W.M., comments on Mahoney’s poem, About Dad, on Your Daily Poem site. Mahoney wrote in a direct, human, and often humorous, poetic style about ordinary life. He was a man of faith who once described himself as a "Believin' but Sometimes Misbehavin' RC."
Mahoney's lyrical and evocative poems tell of a man's love for his wife and children, the tragedy of an unwanted divorce, his struggle to live God's will, and reconciliation with his own aging and approaching death.
The 117-page book, In Break Formation and Other Poems, contains 69 mostly free verse and haiku poems selected from Mahoney’s more than 9,000 published poems, some in slightly different versions.
"You can tell a book by it's cover. The shades of green in the gentle fields of Ireland are absoulutely perfect. The birds add movement to the quiet scene.
In Break Formation and Other Poems is beautifully done."
Yoshiko Mitchell, Sensei
Ikenobo Ikebana Society of St. Louis
Meeting Dad Again
Thirty years later, Dad came back
and we met for Ham and Yams at Toffenetti's,
Pouring his tea, he told me he had
to restore power once
at a newspaper warehouse
and the storm broke again
and the lightning cracked his ladder.
He spent the whole day, he said,
sitting in that dark warehouse,
waiting for the lightning to stop
and for the truck to bring a new ladder.
He had a great time, he said,
sitting next to a flickering lantern
and reading for hours the Sunday comics
printed and stacked
six weeks in advance.
No one has to teach a field
of sunflowers how to worship.
Before dawn in high summer
their necks are bent
in silent prayer like monks.
But as the sun comes up
sunflowers rise as well.
At noon they adore the sun
the way monks in pews
adore the Host at elevation.
Listen and you may hear
sunflowers sing Alleluia!
Light ambrosia of the sun
is over all of her.
She is shy
the way the flicker
pink of a rabbit eye
is shy. Within the
almond hair, cliffs
of cheek round in, where
unifies her chin.
There, two birds meet before
they carry out her smile.
Meet Poet Donal Mahoney
Donal Mahoney (1938 - 2017), the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in Chicago’s South Side Irish neighborhood, and later lived in St. Louis. He spent the ‘60s and early ‘70s submitting poems to print journals and enjoying success as a young poet.
Mahoney stopped writing poetry to focus on his work as editor of the National PTA's national magazine in the early '70s, thus began a 36-year hiatus from poetry. Mahoney was also an editor at the Chicago Sun-Times (Midwest Sunday magazine), U.S. Catholic Magazine, McDonnell Douglas, and Washington University in St. Louis.
Upon retirement, Mahoney took to his recliner, and liked to say he “was perfectly happy reading and listening to Gregorian chant.” But then his wife bought him a computer and showed him where the boxes of his unpublished poems had been stored in the basement. Mahoney took to his words again, and working 6 to 9 hours a day, he began a second prolific period of poetry writing.
A champion Irish dancer in his youth, the beat of jigs and reels reverberated in his soul. Mahoney said once that he put words together in poems to find music. His poetry has been published in print and electronic journals, magazines, and newspapers, including Commonweal, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Galway Review (Ireland), The Christian Science Monitor, Revival (Ireland), The Wisconsin Review, The South Carolina Review, The Avocet, The Osprey Journal (Wales), Public Republic (Bulgaria), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), and The Milo Review. He was nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes.