Sung in Irish, the Music is Honey in the Mouth

of the singer, her voice a pure soprano, layered
over the dolorous notes of the cello, the slow
rhythm plucked from the guitar, strings ringing. 

I understand not a word of the language,
but trust the melody will speak to my Celtic heritage,
to the harmonies of the heart, so I know

this song is about loss, sorrow, the soft drumming
of the seasons, the struggle to plow and plant in time
for spring, the rains in some years too hard, too soon,

in other years too little, the harvests always
meager, never enough after the landlord takes
his share.  The singer works the brittle consonants

against the creamy grain of the song, and I hear
grief for the babe who died at birth, the daughter
lost to the fever, the son crushed under horse.

The music brightens and I am sure the eldest boy
lives to inherit his father’s fiddle. It weaves
a joyous measure for the other brother, gone

to seek fortune in America.  The cello returns,
heavy, somber, as the mother who has borne so much
can bear no more, and dies. The long, dark notes

no doubt mean the father, soon to follow
in death, weeps, remembering his young wife dancing
to the fiddle, the music embracing the son crossing

the sea, nothing in his pockets but his father’s dreams.
The song ends. I find the English translation
in the CD jacket: 

Boy meets girl, boy falls in love. 
Frustrated by language barrier,
boy never gets to second base.

Richard Allen Taylor
(Charlotte, NC), a former co-editor of  Kakalak  Anthology of Carolina Poets, is the author of Something to Read on the Plane (Main Street Rag 2004).  Punching Through the Egg of Space is scheduled for publication in May 2010, also from Main Street Rag. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Taylor is a past president of Charlotte Writers’ Club. His poems have appeared in many publications including Rattle, Iodine Poetry Journal,  Ibbetson Street, South Carolina Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, The Powhatan Review, The Main Street Rag, and several anthologies.  In 2009, he was awarded the Deane Ritch Lomax Poetry Prize for a single poem, “The Essence of Art.”  

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