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Inversions

by O'Hooley & Tidow

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1.
Let if fall If, perhaps, who knows Adventure or happenstance The door softly closes on possibility Goodbye the undiscovered A future, distant horizon dimmed Without investment, words are muffled Like dulled hammers upon the strings The melody of choice, rich with reward Peters out without praise Pray for yourself instead Put it into preoccupation And wonder later why night fell on her daydreams Or instead, lay down proud prejudice The fear you may be dimmed by the phosphorescence of her And coax, kindle, breathe promise into life A new breed; the animal at her core Poised to pounce; the huntress Skilled, ready to range the vastness of her lands Savannah stretched out ahead Grasslands, mountains, landscapes lit up Landmarks where she tried, cried but did not die Hope is the reservoir in her oil lamp Urged forward by the feathery fuel of her family Light upon her shoulders Or let if fall If, maybe, could, can Shut in your fear filled palm Can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, don’t Steal, murder, extinguish The universe inside her soul
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Felingerrig 03:33
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Skibbereen 04:30
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Aran Fawddwy 04:30
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Hawkward 03:55
There’s a space About six foot one, by a thousand miles Between me and him A physical gap A mental pause And in the fresh air off that cliff ledge In the updrafts and the currents I am soaring And I will fly ‘till my wings pack up ‘Till hunger crushes my ribs I can no longer return To land, ledge or perch ‘Till I drop into the ocean Spent, without regret For that split second of sky Means more than any other
8.
Cadair Idris 04:11
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Expectant pauses…the evergreen Or someone else’s pregnancy Birthing another’s dreams Itinerant, tinkering from there to here Irish muscle for hire, road or field Pulling spuds, lifting shovel, riveting Invited nowhere, expected to fit in Send bread to mama, feed the flock With cash as cold as the Irish sea One eye on the boss, the other looking for a Mammy Strong-hipped woman, no nonsense, God fearing Ready to bear a lifetime of servitude for her man Boss, Father, ruler, master Grateful if he doesn’t gamble, stray or punch But drunken fumblings make bumps And two becomes three, then four Four is a family, him at the head, her the tail And the kiddies in the middle, dancing a jig The hornpipe of a day’s work The flats and sharps, the wind and sparks Hard words, soft looks The 6/8 of argument, the 4/4 of sleep Slow and steady Staccato of baby pipes Hug of bass breath, lullaby of flutes Water, feed, rock and watch them grow Skin, teeth and tummies filled from those Things you pulled from the simple soil Rich, earthy days, punctuated by bars of static The white noise of his temper The diatonic contradiction of bible and curse Her pleas unheard as daughter fights to keep son and Dad apart Rippling currents of a riot, contained in a reel Pulsing with primal purpose Locked horns of the deer, masculinity at stake Big promises expunged like over-ripe fruits Mouldy, damp dreams shut in cupboards Accept the path he directs her towards Cut out of his hand-me-downs Anything but poverty Fame the antithesis of nowt Hang your velvet cloak over the threadbare And direct eyes towards what you framed, clever conjuror Catching fireflies in your jar, waving Over here! This way please Come and hear my Father’s reel I can play it fast or slow The notes slip together, a jumble of no’s He wrote it for himself a long time ago But couldn’t get the bloody thing to go Too many, too few, only so many tries ‘Till it toppled, fell in on itself Needing a smaller hand, a gentler touch His child Practice, approval, nods and sighs The long awaited full gaze; my Daddy’s smile Him looking at me Him, me, him, me; his hymn My Father’s reel, my Daddy’s song Tripping from my tongue, it’s wrong, wrong, wrong I love animals, wanted to be a vet Bright as a button, not your pet A big brain, needing, wanting, searching For someone to notice, guide and invest A mother tiger to coax me out into the wild Not clip my claws or bite my breast Wings not a club foot Books not brakes A ladder not a trip wire A hand, a torch, some oil Not the grenade of your disapproval Not ladle after ladle of comfort food to fatten Too fat to be popular Fat enough to be bullied Kept me grateful, kept me home Close to Mum, far away from my horizons Fat kept me small, infant to your adult My Mother’s song Don’t leave me this way Don’t leave me with him, I pray Be my pal, companion, confidant And I’ll give you everything you want Nature, nurture, reversal, abort I will not sing my Mother’s song I will not play my Father’s reel I would rather break my own fingers Pull out my own tongue Gouge out both eyes, close up both ears Than utter one more semibreve Pull the lid of the piano shut Pack away and un-piece the flute Un-string the fiddle, un-skin the drum Turn off the light and close the door Matri-patriachal music no more For in the promise of silence absolute Lies the clatter and rattle, hum and drone Clang and crash, pitch and slide Slur and stride, signature and time Crunch and sway The complex concerto of my day A sonata of sunbeams A mountain cantata A spectral of birds Nature’s wonders turned into words, words, words Crescendo of roads A stanza of friends Love in the final cadenza An opera in three Birth, life lived, death

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released March 30, 2020

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O'Hooley & Tidow Huddersfield, UK

ENGLAND'S ANSWER TO THE MCGARRIGLES

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