Irish Papist

Irish Papist
Me and General Robert Lee

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Lonely Bandstand

Day after day, it stands in quietness.

Twenty-six years of songs sleep in these boards—
Songs only superficially banal.
But silence, with its motherly caress
Has stroked them most of all. And silence lords
This little space, nigh-on perpetual.

But there are words that only can be spoken
Where words are seldom used. The full of heart
Seek out this platform with a timeless urge.
Its workday silence cries out to be broken
By lovers trying not to drift apart
And friends with decades-old regrets to purge
And memories as frail as autumn leaves.

Seventeen years ago five schoolgirls wrote
Their names upon the floor. Today they seem
Like names upon a tomb where no-one grieves,
Some long-unlooked-for tomb.

Time does not gloat;
Not in this place. Although it reigns supreme
Its rule is mild. Nothing seems small from here.
Each echoing word, each footfall is all-dear
Whispers the bandstand. Sounds, this far away—
The purr of traffic, distance-muffled cries—
Seem large with meaning.

All souls will confess
Their secrets to thin air, and all will pray
In such an echo-haunted emptiness.

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