Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dancing the Jig

by Madelaine Nerson Mac Namara © 2013

This French derogatory
Pictures mostly children
Caught up in wild frenzied play
Sometimes even adults
Hopping from foot to foot
Desperately holding in a pee.

Odd how language
Drags along unawares
Legacies of the scorn
Some French long ago
Felt for their Breton
Or Auvergnat neighbours.

Little wonder our family
Guards like secret treasure
The knowledge
Our Irish mother
Can dance jigs and reels
An exotic feat.

From time to time
We remember
Beg a performance.
Into her late sixties
In between chores
She gives it a whirl

Laments the lack
Of a beat we've never heard
Lilts her own steps.
Enthralled, we clap our pride.
Out of breath, she stops
Flops onto a chair, smiling back

On the day she danced, aged four
With her golden curled friend
Hoisted onto a podium
For the entertainment
Of Limerick's bishop Dwyer
Come to celebrate a forgotten school feast.

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