Mary Oyediran reading The Park Bench - I Need Transformation

Hi, my name is Mary Oyediran. I’m part of the Ballymun Writers’ Group – a real privilege and I want to read a short piece called "The Park Bench – I Need Transformation"

The Park Bench – I Need Transformation

I sat on the park bench
All around me there was a stench
I hated myself, but what the heck,
This is life. This is my life in the ghetto
Another day, another lie
Hell seems to draw me from below
'Come' it bellows
'No more bills, no more pills
Come and meet your friend down beneath'
'Is anybody there?' my soul cries out from within
'I hate this life of sin'
I took a rip of my new spin
In this brown paper bag was my friend, vodka and gin
As I guzzled from the nozzle I knew I had lost my bottle
I belch, and tears mix with euphoria
My new joy was so short lived
I plunge into another mouthful, suspended in between Heaven and Hell.
What a moment.
Then next to me a young man sat.
He was not afraid.
He was nice as a bat or was he a bat?
I turned and I looked
'How do you do?' he said
To which I replied 'I'm cool, how are you?'
'Very well my friend, I have good news for you'
'Good news', I chilled for a moment
I would be six feet under and nobody would bother
He smiled again, his eyes twinkled
'Good news my friend, God loves you so
His only begotten son he gave for you
That soon, you can be, and live a life of peace
That you would not live but to perish
For this news, oh God, you must chuckle'
'Hmm' I said, 'die for me? An old bum like me?'
'Yes, for you my friend, and I
Let's give him this life. If you would open your heart and let him in'
'I have no heart. It's like a stone,
It's so cold like steel, it doesn't feel'
'Let him in my friend' the man with the hat replied
'He will soften and melt down the pain
Let him in, dear lady, let him into your life
He will find you a new one'
'What do I do with this pain?
It is like a Goliath, it must be slain, oh I need to contain it'
'Let him in my friend, let him in with your troubles
And down on your knees, my good lady, look up and be saved'
Something took hold of my mind.
It was funny, fuzzy but kind.
My heart began to soften, like wax in a moulding.
'Let him in' the young man replied,
‘Let him in my friend, let him in'
She kept on hearing his voice.
'Let him in', then I yielded, I cried, 'Come on in!'
Then suddenly the spirit took me, it shook me, it beheld me
Like a dream the scales fell from my eyes
My heart softened and yielded
Then I saw a marvellous sight
The sky was so blue, oh so blue.
The heavy burden lifted from my shoulders
The heaviness was gone, I felt free.
I looked at the gin and now I gave a mighty grin
Chains were broken, my friend, my mind renewed.
Oh what a wonderful day when I sat on that park bench
I was Transformed


Recorded at Ballymun Library Creative Writing Group, facilitated by Orla Ní hAonigh.

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