Contracted Silences

1

Antonio Stradivari stalks the Forest of Violins,
kicking trees for close-ringed echoes made
later by his Messiah, now the Ashmolean’s,
bequeathed on condition it be never played.

2

Debbie Reynolds’
ghost singer Kathy
in Singin’ in The Rain
had a ghost singer
as unsung again.

In Debbie: My Life,
Reynolds names her,
only to spell it wrong.
Here it’s put right,
this is her song.

Surnamed Noyes,
which, in a poem,
might sound a pun,
harmonic meanings,
but Betty’s the one.

3

A sean-nós singer I heard in Larne one day,
being a Protestant from the Glens of Antrim,
suffered for his tadhg art threats of violence

till at last he got the message from the UDA,
give it a rest or there’s a contract out on him:
after that, as the man said, the rest is silence.