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Flute fixing in McNeill's of Capel Street

for Mark O'Sullivan

by Nessa O'Mahony


I would have passed it by -
old-fashioned, discreet
between pound shops,
purveyors of pine
or fifty types of trainer.
But you knew the way, easing
the heavy door for me,
leading me in.

Here time was suspended
with the motes
as light slipped in
through timbered slats
and varnish teased our noses
till our breath
was pure mahogany.

The job was not yet done.
He twined the hemp, unwound
and twined again around
the bevelled shaft, retouched
with beeswax so the cord
stayed moist and pliant
as he talked of sessions,
of bodhrans played in the Sligo style.

As he worked you browsed
from shelf to shelf, ear cocked
to some internal tune
among the lutes and mandolins
till a bouzouki's soundboard
curved to swell a song
you promised I might one day hear..

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