PE (born 23-11-1950 / Cape Town, South Africa)

One Of My Chief Loves

Some pleasures in life are free.
For others you have to pay forty-four dollars and ten cents.
That was the price of a ticket
To last Wednesday's Chieftans concert.
(The Chieftans are one of the best known contemporary exponents
Of traditional Irish instrumental music
And I have been a devoted fan for quite some years.)

Sure, the interval dragged
And Sarah McClaghlan, their support act,
didn't quite hit the spot,
But it was worth it all when the Chieftans emerged
and struck up their first tune,
Starting with a flute introducing a melody
Which got gradually taken up by the whole band.

A quarter of an hour or so into their show
And it hit me:
A tune so resonant with my soul
That the only choice was to get to my feet,
Make my way to the back of the stalls
in the Melbourne Concert Hall,
And, visible only to ushers and the band,
Give myself over to dance.

In anticipation of this possibility
I had deliberately booked a seat on an aisle
And as had happened
At the last Chieftans concert I had attended
I was the only one dancing at the back
And remained thus alone
the whole evening.

Not that it mattered.
The sense of power
That comes from dancing solo
Before a band playing to a full house,
Of being part of the show
Through the feedback you provide
As you spin and arms wave,
Feeling at times you're lifting the energies of the hall,
Virtually conducting.

And the sheer delight
Of responding to the infectious good times rhythms of Ireland
Alternating with leaning back to the wall
Catching my breath during the slower numbers.

I leave during their encore
And to round off a wonderful night
The tram is on time:
I hardly have to wait two minutes.

(23Nov95 11.45pm, Melbourne, Australia)

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