I must have been having the time
of my life the year I started singing,
trying hard to remember the words,
but high on applause and silver.
In the lounge bar of a pub
in Swinford I tried out a repertoire
I’d culled from The Clancys and mixed
to a Home Counties hybrid.
I might have been one of their own,
giving them back The Irish Rover,
The Woman from Wexford Town.
Lured by the promise of easy pickings,
I tagged along St Stephen’s Day,
togged out as a mummer,
and welcomed for miles around.
Strapped across her shoulder,
my cousin lugged her squeezebox,
melodeon, whatever, down lanes
and over fields. At each house
we stopped I gave them my party piece,
while across the buttons and keys
perished fingers danced
like spiders on warm stones.
David Cooke (UK)
What's a wren boy?