When we hung the babies from the door jamb,
Perched in a canvas seat, their turkey drum sticks
With plump sticky toes decorating the bone, leapt,
Pushed off the Pledge-polished wood floors, with the
Strength of an Olympic dead broad jumper in flight.
There, they’d pop up and down, jolly as Irish jiggers,
Songs I often clapped in time to their rhythmic throes.
And so, when I hear fiddle and penny whistle squares,
Baroque hints of ornate mantles and powdered wigs
And gardened promenading intrigue, I see red waddles.
Not the terraced, mossy ridges or jutting rocks on plains,
Not the low clouds, cushioning the sky for its safe landing,
Heavy with burden, nor Shetland sheep grazing meadows,
No, not the smell of salt and sea, as the swallows return,
But the scent of talcum and apples, the toothless grins
Of guileless giddy girls in flight, the heart of a giggled jig.