warms the cockles of his hart

He leaps
Twice from his right foot
Twice from his left
Skipping, skipping.
Warming up
Out loud he sings,
“Alive, A-live O”

The first song
He ever learned
In its entirety.
An Irish rounder refrain
From summer camp.
He didn’t know about dominant seventh chords
Or the texture of melodies coinciding
In different voices

The meaning was not at all clear
But he loved the cadence of
soft lament
tragedy of hope
Hope for freedom
Freedom from a life of capture.

He feels the burn rising.
He’s practiced so many times.
On the hundreds of small streams and creeks.
He envisions himself a gazelle.
Silently sailing from one safe bank
He leaps
Just as all the times before
He feels himself hover airborne
for that extra fraction. of time.
Alive. A-live O!

Oh, to cast in bronze,
Memories of Our finest moments.

This time his landing
Is accompanied by
A resounding crack
From somewhere deep within.
He knows he won’t imitate
The gazelle again.

Now as he shifts painfully
From creaky knee to the other
behind gleaming counters
of The Piggly Wiggly Seafood Market.

He dreams of her strawberry hair
of cherry bonbons
Burgundy against chocolate.
And those few fragile airborne flights.

He owns it, yet
carries the prophetic dirge.
chanting softly now:
In Dublin’s fair city
Where girls are so pretty
He first set his eyes on
Sweet Molly Malone
She wheeled her wheelbarrow
through streets broad and narrow
Cockles and mussels
alive a-live O!
She died of a fever and no one could save her
Now her ghost wheels her barrow
through streets broad and narrow
Cockles and mussels.
A-live O!

He knew even skipping in his Keds
Along bogs and bayous
There is
No utopia.
Not on this side of Jordan


Once again my muses rise to coach me.
Thanks to K for the concept and to E for the last line.


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