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Poetry Magnum Opus

Grandad's Concertina


Frank E Gibbard
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Frank E Gibbard

Old as it is now and mute the red concertina

still evokes a music of history, a note keen

to me. Handed down a family heirloom

antique but of no value except to whom

this instrument plays its silent harmony.

 

Mum regaled us with her tale of a man

we never knew, a gentle gent of Ireland.

 

Seaman Doyle had sailed in real sail-ships

and would tell of right whales, life before the mast,

the how and why of how he lost that eye.

Bridget's daddy enchanted her with briny shanty tunes

deftly fingured with his rope-hardened matelot's hands.

 

The player and listeners have in turn all trickled away

like time's unquenching sands.

 

The melodeon stands still on a shelf today

I see, I hear a hornpipe playing far away ...

 

[Visualised in mind's eyes]

 

Late evening 1920s on a hard earthen floor

of a tiny Cork coastal cottage, dim-lit by oil lamp wattage,

red concertina in rough hands merrily vamping, an aged

sailor's land-lubbered legs start their rhythmical stamping:

"Dance a jig for yor daddy Bridie dance for yor da,

Jus' one mor girlie an' den eyel take a dish of tay."

Edited by Frank E Gibbard
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Wow Frank! This is wonderful! A lyrical tale vivid and touching. My paternal grandfather played the concertina. It too was red and I don't know what happened to it. He died before I was born but my grandmother would bring out the concertina and tell the best stories about my grandfather growing up in Australia. She was a master storyteller and could mimic his accent, keeping us kids enthrawled. Thanks for the reminder.

 

~~Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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This one really comes from the heart, Frank, and you've got the tones just right. I'm almost ready to overlook that travesty of a Cork accent in the closing lines!!

Drown your sorrows in drink, by all means, but the real sorrows can swim

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Fantastic, Frank! From the internal rhymes to the stanza breaks, to the use of the parentheses, to the overall length of the poem, everything is just right. And the use of the accent in the last stanza is measured and not overdone.

 

Tony

Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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  • 2 weeks later...
Frank E Gibbard
Wow Frank! This is wonderful! A lyrical tale vivid and touching. My paternal grandfather played the concertina. It too was red and I don't know what happened to it. He died before I was born but my grandmother would bring out the concertina and tell the best stories about my grandfather growing up in Australia. She was a master storyteller and could mimic his accent, keeping us kids enthrawled. Thanks for the reminder.

 

~~Tink

>>>>>>>>>>>>> Thanks Tink so much. I don't know how I got the wrong instrument name, it was an early concertina as in squeeze box type like you cite not a melodeon. Frank

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Pitch Perfect Frank- a true gem. It evoked a shared memory that is at once all too familiar and yet delightfully 'other.' Enjoyed greatly!

 

DC&J

thegateless.org Come on over and check out my poetry substack y'all;-) Or if your bored, head to the Zazzle store: https://www.zazzle.com/store/gateless. If you buy anything I lose a bet, so consider that before you violate the digital rules.

 

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Hello Frank.

Many traditional tunes and enduring songs were conceived on such simple 'instruments of the people'. Played acoustically and without amplification, they still have the power to mesmerize an audience into silence or lift them into raucous choruses of joy. Your excellent poem affords an insight into a world which nowadays, seems only to echo in the back rooms of public houses, supported by a few folk-music enthusiasts. Thank you for posting a most enjoyable poem.

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