Homo Ludens

Seán Lucy

And he told this story
of the old singer and the tape recorder:
of how the old man listened to his own voice
while fierce anxiety turned down his mouth
until he heard his strengthening voice
move into life again.

Then sat with concentration till the song was over,
flung his cap on the floor between his boots crying,
‘I’ll never die!’

Another night Seán sat down at the piano
when we were drinking poitín and pints of stout
and played the tune to me for the first time,
that air of pride and loss,
of the sharp love that has accepted loss.

And in his hands our deadly lasting sadness
became acceptable
so I was moved to tears,
not drunk but steady.

I cried,
and when he finished cursed him saying, ‘You bastard,
you took me by surprise’.

He stood up with his fingers round my arm
smiling and laughing;
pleased with my understanding,
more pleased by his power,
most deeply pleased by music
by the thing itself.

One afternoon he said,
‘A man should dance on his own floor’.
And he danced.

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