‘On hearing Tony Mac Mahon play a slow air’ by Noel Ó Briain

Noel reading the poem at the launch of Scaoil Amach an Pocaide in the Dublin Civic Trust building, October 2014

Noel reading the poem at the launch of Scaoil Amach an Pocaide in the Dublin Civic Trust building, October 2014

To hear Mac Mahon play an air!
Mac Mahon from Clare!
Wrapped around his accordion
The broad frame of the man;
The pain of ages
Etched in his face,
Then
With a sudden sweep of arm
And shouldering swing,
He stretches the ribbed bellows beyond endurance span;
Draws – out – the – note.
Then,
Taut as a string about to snap,
Holds
……….. stillness
Before he lets the instrument
Draw another breath;
And we hold ours.
Amhrán na Leabhar
A poet’s treasure
Lost at sea.
Port na bPúcaí;
Buttoned high
The cry of the Shee..
A searing searching
Scalpel note
Finds the open heart;
Is held again
For an eternity.
Then……
Once more,
………. Stillness
Suspended in the ancient air,
He is done.
The instrument breathes
A sigh of relief,
The bellows
Squeezed closed.

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