My Mother Played The Fiddle by Anne-Marie Coen
(In loving memory of my mother Eileen Hyland)

Playing the fiddle

My Mother played the fiddle
And oh, she could make it sing
With jigs and reels and sweet slow airs
That could make the heart take wing.

Her girlhood home was filled with music
From the waxing to the waning of the moon,
With people always dropping in
To call for their favourite tune,

Or dance The Walls of Limerick
A Polka or half set,
‘Round and round and mind the dresser’
Someone always called in jest

And her beauty, poise and gracefulness
Held the audience in sway,
And her clear soprano voice sang out
The Dawning of the Day

The Coolin, Suil, Suil Arun
Or Stranger In Paradise,
While the men sang the praises of her lustrous hair
Proud mien and fine dark eyes

And she danced as light as a feather
The Fox-Trot, Waltz or Cha-Cha-Cha
Or trod the boards as the grand Ann Tuit
And in works by Goldsmith, Wilde and Shaw.

When my Mother wielded her bow
She could make the music ring.
My Mother played the fiddle
My Father – the violin.

(From ‘Top of the Pile’, An Anthology by Neagh Writers Group, 2009)

Below The Radar Line by Henry Bevans

Slice the calm in two, he does.
Before things settle as they were, he’s gone,
A sniper on patrol
So low, that earth or water, spray or dew,
Could moisten clear his cold, keen eye.



For detail, he doesn’t care,
His route a lightning speed-response to instinct.
Gaffs are his cargo, his legs two scabbards fixed so neat,
They balance to the finest gram
The weights and drift of his darting, weaving course of death.

For death to him is life
And keeps alert, awake,
Then mass of those who might repose
With comatose or idle gait.
A radar-cheating arrow of the sky,
Pilot with few parallels
The sparrow hawk.

(From ‘Top of the Pile’, An Anthology by Neagh Writers Group, 2009)