Gay balloons and coloured streamers,
Gliding figures, footsteps light,
Flannelled youths and short-frocked maidens
Jazzing gaily through the night.
Music quaint and queer and catchy,
Lilting cadence of the band,
‘Tis a scene of harmless frolic.
Youth and pleasure hand in hand.
Laughter, frank and merry hearted,
Careless banter – burst of song-
“While the red, red robin
Goes bob-bob-bobbin’
Goes bob-bob-bobbin’ along!”

Small Miss Anne is sitting, dreaming
In the vine-clad window-seat
Listening to the lilting music,
To the trip of dancing feet,
But her vision sees a ballroom
Where the swaying lanterns glow
Over maidens in flowing muslins,
Courteous gallants bowing low.
Hear the cooing flutes and violins,
‘Tis a waltz song sweet and old-
“Glide along, oh river,
Where the willows quiver,
Glide along for ever
O’er thy sands of gold.”

Ah, the cruel, gleaming river
That can sweep young lives away,
Gone, long gone the youthful lover,
Closed the boyish eyes of grey.
But the old heart-wound is throbbing
As she dreams, with cheeks aglow,
Of a dew-drenched, fragrant garden
Where the river breezes blow
Over beds of phlox and pansy,
Waxen jasmine, while and cold-
“There amid the gloaming
Lover true are roaming
Hand in hand in Love’s dreamland,
Where fond hearts ne’er grow old.”

Soft and clear the rippling music
Steals into a chamber nigh
Where the dear Old Irish grandma
Waits her summons from on High,
Ready for the great adventure
Is her gently child-like soul,
For the grand old Faith upholds her,
And her life’s long simple scroll
Is a screed of shining whiteness;
But just now her old eyes glow
As, like dancing, flickering turf-fires,
Long-lost memories come and go-
‘When the boys began to gather
In the glen of a summer night,
And the Kerry pipers tuning
Made us long with a wild delight.”

Like the horns of elf-land blowing,
Rings the distant pipers’ tune,
Laughter gay of lads and colleens
Underneath the harvest moon.
To the “wind that shook the barley”
Tripped their glancing footsteps fleet,
Ah! Did you dance light, dear Grandma
On the hearts beneath your feet?
On the daisy spangled greensward
‘Neath the hawthorn hedge abloom-
“Ah! The days of Kerry dancing
Oh! The lilt of the pipers’ tune.

by Alice Guerin Crist

Other poems of CRIST (36)

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