Subtitled ‘My Life as a Limerick’, this book by the former Abbot of Glenstal Monastery as well as its school principal, is part memoir and partially a plea for reform in a church he sees as “rigid, authoritarian and moralistic”. He believed the only way in which the church can possibly survive is through root-and-brand change, although that’s never welcome in the Vatican. “The church as an institution is form to every political intrigue and power-seeking corruption. The church as a historical structure must eventually disappear altogether. Here and now we constitute the church. Let us retrieve our birth right and take back the church in which we inherited and which we are. Either we do something daring and immediate or the whole edifice might collapse.” Fightin’ talk is what this sounds like to me, and a breath of fresh air too. If Fr Brian Darcy is the holy ambassador of country n western singers, then Fr Mark Herdman is his equal among poets. Some luminous verse is quoted here, and we all know there is no arguing with great poetry. Writing on everything from venture Capitalism to horses to his own Road to Damascuus experience, it’s a vastly intelligent, thought provoking collection regardless of your religious persuasions or lack thereof.