Bonding with an Ideal

It started in a dusty school yard.

Joined by many others,

Each a stranger to each other,

Destined to become a band of brothers,

Fearing the challenge to meet the standard,

Of becoming a man of God, for others.


This, the biggest step of our fledging lives,

Our hearts were filled with hope and fear,

Grasp the long destiny of an academic year,

Filled with honor and, yes, a wavering fear.

New ideals emerge; a lesser dream fades and dies,

On the path to be a man of God for others.


Years have passed, too fast it would seem.

With lives filled with friends and others,

Our lives filled with joy and pain adverse,

We are now a band of brothers.

And, yes, we still live that elegant dream,

Of becoming a man of God for others.


The St. Peter’s Man

He stands tall, the St. Peter’s Man

He speaks with confidence, he speaks the truth

And it lasts through a lifetime’s span.


The Prep man stands out in a crowd,

Poised, calm, collected, a study of grace

When life’s noise is raucous and loud.


With an awesome sense of human dignity

You will find him in the front lines of life

Living the tenets of Ignatian spirituality.


The St. Peter’ s man is a man of humor.

He sees God’s smile in life’s events.

He can laugh, have fun, and maintain honor.


He lives through days that do not go well

He is trained to accept the bad with the good

Remembering that, under the cross, even Christ fell.


He is a companion, a dependable friend

Trusting, loyal, and faithful,

Golden relationships never end.


He is destined to be a leader of men,

To build teams and forge solutions,

To be for us early and often.


To identify him as haughty is very wrong.

He discerns his virtues and his weaknesses.

His overall demeanor is very strong.


Paulus Hook

Grand Street, an avenue of hope;

On this street of dreams,

Young men boldly step

The home of Saint Peter’s Prep.


Towers of trumpeting grace

Surround elegant brownstones.

At Warren street, look south and see

The dramatic pose of Lady Liberty.


The city blends the old and the new.

Gleaming towers reflect the sun

On buildings a century old,

A sight, curious and bold.


An avenue of hope,

Dreams happily fulfilled,

We will never forget

The aura of Saint Peter’s Prep.


The Class Room

Passez le devoir au centre,

Arma virumque cano,

Omnes Gallia est divisa in tres partes,

Quo usque tandem, Catalina,

Early born rosy fingered dawn,

Every action, an equal reaction,

Sine, cosine, and tangent,

American democracy solves problems,

From Thomas Aquinas, a first cause,

Ignatius teaches how to live,

Teachers are role models,

Yon Cassius has a lean, hungry look,

Et Tu Brute,

The best of times, the worst of times,

Humility, prayer, and Christian community;

Friends for a lifetime, minted and met

In the classrooms of Saint Peter’s Prep.


Intramural Sports

An athlete lay dying, gasping for breath

His thoughts quite far from his pending death

Absolution had freed him from debt and sin

His only concern was discovering how did I win.


Covering his cold hand, I choked back my tears

And thought of that day, a half century of years.

The battlefield was the Prep basketball court.

Three man teams in the tournament sport.


One of three varsity champions was my friend.

The tournament trophy surely theirs at the end.

Ah, but the fates had taken a different stand.

On any given day, the winner has a hot hand.


Little did they know how hard they would fall,

When we first began to dribble the ball.

We were the unlikely; champions, not at all.

We took twenty-one shots and made them all.


I picked my words carefully, intelligent and wise.

I spoke softly through the tears in my eyes.

The events of that day were so incidental.

Our eventual victory was strictly accidental.


Not so, my friend said, I remember it well.

You played like a champion, and so we fell.

I never told you that. I should have done so.

A friend my entire life, we never had a row.


The pain left his eyes as the smile broke through.

I kissed his cold hand. I so valued his friendship too.

For sixty-five years, we marched in lockstep.

Our last shared thought, the schoolyard at St. Peter’s Prep.


Redefining the Word, Teacher

The days were still hot, those days before fall.

He wore an academic gown, I hadn’t seen one before.

With snow white hair, and kindly blue eyes, he stood tall,

Surveying the room, he was the master of all, and more.


He spoke the name of the course, Algebra One.

He went to the board and wrote numbers with x’s and y’s.

It became clear that this would not be much fun,

As the fog enveloped my mind and blurred my eyes.


As time went on the fog became worse; my brain was bland.

For some the ripple of knowledge became an ocean wave

And would become a tsunami flooding the golden sand.

For me, I was foundering, embarrassed, only a miracle would save.


It was a miracle on a late fall day. His hair was white and his eyes, kind.

We sat on the stoop in front of the deli sharing Pepsi and potato salad.

He knew I was hurting. He saw the frightful fog that enveloped my mind.

He offered to tutor me. We made a deal that would heal my malade.


The ripple became a wave but never a tsunami. He worked hard and so did I.

The progress was exasperating and slow. But progress was encouraging so.

I passed the course. Fear dissipated. Confidence filled my tear-flooded eyes.

With hair so white and kind blue eyes, he taught more than algebra to know.


He taught me to see pain and touch it. He taught me compassion.

The human things, the Christian dimension not in the textbook. And yet,

He helped make our school a place where humanity and spirituality have traction.

Only the very best of women and men are called to teach at St. Peter’s Prep.


For Charles J. Goombash

He was neither Mister Chips nor Mister Blue.

An intriguing combination of the two

He was so much more; more than we ever knew.

He showed us that he cared. He loved teaching the fold.

He taught us to write every word from the depth of soul.

He travelled the world; a thousand great stories told.

We thought him eccentric; he was a genuine genius.

He was a gentleman. We thought him fanatically frivolous.

We thought him silly; He was extremely serious.

Characters and plots were fun; some lose and others win.

Their history was told in truth attending to both virtue and sin.

Life remained real no matter the plot we were in.

He read my essay through, a story of the Firpo-Dempsey fight.

I had seen the famous painting and wrote in the dead of night.

I put myself in the ring, trading punches, until dawn’s early light.

He said if I did not write, he would come back and haunt me with fright.

Those days, long gone, thoughts still live. We march through life in step.

Whenever I finish a story I lift my glass until my lips are wet,

To toast a giant in the storied history of my life and St. Peter’s Prep.


A Role Model Extraordinaire

Ships of the Roman armies floated to the shore

To face the barbaric hordes of Vercingetorix.

A victory would give Rome control of Gaul.

He told the story like a father reading to a child

He spoke in English; then he translated into Latin,

The emotion in his voice seized our attention.

The large Roman ships drew six feet of water

And grounded some thirty leagues from the shore.

The bold barbarian legions waited in anticipation

For the battle that was sure to begin any minute.

The average Roman soldier’s height was five feet.

The frustrated armies glared at each other,

Unable to engage over the gap of the ocean.

A brave Roman soldier ran to fore of the ship

Unsheathed his sword, raised it, and shouted,

Desilite Milites: jump down soldiers, leading the charge.

He leapt to the top of his own desk and jumped down

Such boldness, such bravery, such courage and patriotism!

Unfortunately, in full armor, the deep water

Accepted them and embraced them forever.

The conquest of Gaul would wait for another day.

To describe the Roman spear, the pylum, true in flight,

He threw the window pole through the open window.

The pylum soared through the air with a true arc

Landing in the faculty parking lot across the street,

A new world and Olympic record for such a throw.

Just another day in the liveliest Latin class in the world.

He has a distinctive voice that still captures our attention

An orator’s voice that served his political retirement career.

He isn’t a clergyman but a man of deep faith.

He was a war hero in the battle for the South Pacific.

He was a teacher extraordinaire though he once confessed

That he was about two weeks ahead of his class.

In the last class of our sophomore year I looked at him

And thought, if he is the model of a Christian gentleman,

I want that. The class was definitely a success.


The Varsity Sweater

Comfort in the warm color of maroon,

Stitched with blends of fine cotton,

To thwart cold winds or a monsoon,

Or when degrees fall to the bottom.


The magic of this, the “P” at the breast

Signifies a singular status, one set apart.

The wearer is seen as one of the best

On the field of athletics or in the arts..


Women attracted to men wearing the “P”

With motives that may seem frivolous,

It builds their sense of esteem, you see,

With certain security yet adventurous.


The “P” has a mystique not beyond reason

A spiritual symbol of grace and vitality,

Thoughtful intelligence in and out of season,

Portending a fabled future of faith and ability.


The “P” a solid symbol of dignity and class,

Hard work, achievement, to be among the best,

Without a trace of arrogance or behavior crass

The St. Peter’s student stands tall among the rest.


The Mystique of St. Peter’s Prep

Like a beacon that shines on the almost total darkness of the sea,

St. Peters Prep looks directly on Liberty Tower in one direction;

From another direction, the serene face of a welcoming Lady Liberty,

To enlighten and inspire young boys to become outstanding young men.


Founded by Saint Ignatius, a four-hundred-year-old educational theory,

Proven effective in every age, culture, and nation of the world,

Opens the minds and hearts of boys and molds them into leaders of others

In universities, governments, corporations; in the arts and social services.


They will become the physicians, researchers, teachers, financiers, attorneys;

They will be government and community leaders, artists, actors, clergymen,

Generals, admirals, and athletes with quality spiritual and intellectual traits,

To work with God to co-create the world; to be the light that dispels darkness.


Not a mystery, not a dream, not even a hope. It is definite, a given;

It has happened on Grand Street since the Industrial Revolution.

We have produced great intellectuals in our storied history.

We have formed leaders in every field of human endeavor.


Prep has formed men of integrity and conscience. The Prep man is a person of faith.

He builds bridges rather than divisive walls. He sees the hungry and feeds them.

He sees the thirsty and brings them water. He sees the destitute and picks them up.

He has compassion for the sick, hospitality for strangers, comfort for the alienated.


He is unafraid of the potholes of life or the potential dangers of an unstable world.

He is identified with the Christ and impelled by the Spirit. He is a man of action.

He is a person of faith, a person of prayer. A Christian on the front lines, a son of Ignatius.

He is the person who responds to the call to sanctify the secular, the greatest adventure of all.


As part of a community of life-long learners, the Prep Man is enriched by the diversity of life.

He is teammate on the athletic field, the bands, the chorus, in forensics, the arts, and sciences.

He is formed in community, in world-wide service projects, through spiritual programs.

He is a searcher to understand the world. He is a pursuer to advance the common good.


He is a proud member of a four hundred plus year Jesuit tradition of faith and service

He is growing in awareness of his own potential, his spiritual awareness, his ability to love.

He is aware of his faith in God, his place in the world, his personal growth, his humanity.

He is a man of God in service to others; an heir to St. Ignatius, a son of St. Peter’s Prep.