Some were back from England for a week
And thought to capture that which they had missed.
A night of dance and gaiety they’d seek
Replete with song, with fiddle music blessed.
They borrowed, then, the Merchant’s kitchen floor
And placed a cask of Guinness by the door
With poteen stored for those with need for more.
To Doonfeeney and Glenurla I was sent
To summon those who owned a pair of feet.
The supple young and those whom age had bent
To dance a set, both elegant and neat.
Joe Mahon with a hundred tunes in store,
Faulkner, with at least a hundred more
Combine their skills to make the rafters roar.
Accordion and fiddle found an air,
Miss McCloud was reeled into the night.
The dancers stepped together pair by pair
The oil lamp bathed us all in subtle light.
At times they swung together four by four
At times all eight around a central core:
The flagstones, then, for mercy did implore.
A bed beside the chimneybreast was built
Four-postered and with flowered curtains pent.
Where Mary Loftus lay beneath the quilt,
The haven, where her final years were spent.
Her fingers danced like those upon the floor
She remembered Sunday dresses she once wore
When she was young, at dances by the score.
Songs of emigration filled the room
The Old Bog Road as well as Noreen Bawn
Nell Flaherty’s dead Drake dispelled the gloom
As sunlight, through the window, signalled dawn.
To bed, upon my uncle’s back I slept
Till afternoon when out of bed I crept.
Until now, those memories I’ve kept.