This is better read listening to the youtube of Dickie Deegan playing a tune with the same title.
Full-swing roistering at the Hogarth Inn.
Pints of black with Paddy chasers.
Spirits soaring, musicians whooping
Songs of solidarity with the poor, the weak,
Suffering in the wake of the brash ‘one nation’
Tory new order.
I was present in body
Elsewhere in mind
Dwelling on private grief.
It was the tenth birthday
Of a stillborn son.
A pure child soul spirited away.
Before he took an earthly breath.
Melted like frost on a blade of grass
Or an Easter Sunday sudden snowfall.
Amid a raucous chorus condemning the slavery
Of freedom backstabbed by zero hours contracts,
A quiet man, tall, sedate, full of years entered the bar.
He took the seat next to me and curved to open a wooden box.
Taking out a wondrous contortionery –
Pipes, knobs and bellows –
He slotted together a steampunk array
Reminiscent to me of the antique plumbery
That keeps me awake at night
With hissing, clanging, wheezing and banging.
My turn to perform came around too soon,
My melancholy history sat too heavy upon me.
Too heavy to lift my head
Too heavy lift my heart.
Too heavy to sing any song – I passed.
Quiet as a Donegal mist, “Gentlemen?”
Answered by nods.
The pipe man elbowed bellows
Freeing a skirl from Uilleann bowels.
A drone that scoured depths beyond depths
A lament that wrapped and compassed
All my anguish, all my pains –
And rinsed them away.
God was speaking to me, but what did He say?
I closed my eyes and saw myself
High above the Western Sea on Skellig Michael
Seated on a stool of rock outside a beehive cell door
Eating a gannet I skewered
And scallops and oysters. harvested from the shore.
A banquet, fit for a penitent,
Cold autumn gave way to harsh winter.
Our larder ran low.
Our fingers froze.
We drank melted snow
And like guttering candles our numbers dwindled.
By Easter Day
I alone remained to praise the Creator
Without love, without trees
Without music or poetry
The remaining days of my life
In a cell high above the ink black swell
That no man, alone, could row –
More than a furlong below.
Then it snowed – a gentle flurry became a blizzard.
Too weak, too cold to stay alive
I sighed and breathed my last.
The pipes in the Hogarth
Retreated into silence
The stillness broke my reverie.
The piper said, “Gentlemen, ‘Easter Snow’.”
Then stowed the pipes in the wooden chest.
And quietly as he entered,
Left the bar.