Friday, June 15, 2018

Liam O’Flynn, uilleann piper, born 15 April 1945; died 14 March 2018

I am so grateful I heard this man's playing. Borrowed tapes, scratched records, then all the way from Australia to Dublin to hear him live. 

(Planxty: Dublin 2005)

The high note, held, stretching
the space above the drone;
like wind torn spray
as the great wave, darkening, builds;
wailing like the curve of the bay,
lean as famine, leaning into
the blurred percussion
of Atlantic rollers, coming home 
across unfathomable depth,
to crash onto the present
this cargo of raw, wounded memory.

Like a window blasted open,
the music admits the smell of rain
drumming on the shuttered house.
Where the locals never learn to spell
the migrant’s name, the dancers stamp and call,
while by the fire, whiskey and stories
blur in customary gestures.
Laughter and exuberance, suspended
without resolution, above

a strained and ruined loneliness.

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