The Whistle and the Fiddle

The Selkie Girls; Mark Menikos, Martin McCall, Jaycie Skidmore, Alli Johnson, and Dave Ervin. Live at the Austin Celtic Festival, Austin, October 18, 2014 (photo by Kent Kanouse). Reproduced under Creative Commons via Flickr

As we face more restrictions on socialising, on numbers at weddings and , for some, on movement, I was reminded of a few verses I penned earlier in the summer after a Damn Cheek performance of Brendan Murray’s play ‘Big Baby’. As part of that production, we were fortunate to have a multi instrumentalist in the cast in Kate Adams and the way her musicianship lifted the evening made me think about some of the ways in which music is important to us, not least at ‘weddings, wakes and christenings’.

The Whistle and the Fiddle

The whistle and the fiddle,
with us through the ages
at weddings, wakes and christenings
and all of life’s key stages.

The whistle sounding an alert,
a signal, stop, take care.
The fiddle playing mournful tunes
when danger’s everywhere.

The fiddler leads us to the dance,
the whistle joins the jig,
but dancing at a distance
just isn’t worth a fig

and as our leaders fiddle now
with figures, claims and metrics
we whistle for some common sense
among the massed statistics

and long for a day, when all is clear,
the virus is defeated,
when few succumb and those that do
can easily be treated

and on that day as smiles break out
we’ll dance a roundelay
we’ll all hold hands (remember how?)
and the fiddler will play.

Tony Earnshaw

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