Needed treacle of weddings and funerals.
Lyrical lessons of musical hedge-schools,
Strummed in secret,
Plucked at the harpist’s peril,
thought Turlough O’Carolan
gripping her mane
and bending his back to the back of the mare,
bumpily trotting the bad roads
beside watery green
boglands and sea lanes and fields of moraine
and peaks that, crowds dropping sheets on,
vanished, to glimmer back into view.
Harpsong. Rain patter.
unfailing as fog, lodged in the rain
out of droplets born.
To the west—the warmth of the sea
drew to itself his crumbling vision:
sealight, viewed via blocks of blur—
light even a blind man could see,
light genial and diffuse.
Harpsong—the poem-preceding tune come some clamoring after.
Boy!, he shouted to the dimness, ahead, Boy!
(They were late but only a day or so)
late for the feast, but what, so?
Folks would wait a week or more—
for they needed him, in a way
as much as the bride. Needed him
as people rarely need a blind man, to begin,
So, he barked, snarkily,
Let them wait. Repeating,
Let them wait!