The Night Out
Going upstairs, I think of him still
in the bathroom, crooning. It's Danny Boy
or some doomed melody dredged up
from a past we're unable to share.
Nearly all of the words are missing
as he tries half-heartedly to reinvent them;
while the tune is sprightly,
pepped up for a night on the tiles.
When I played my records he told me
that music always needed a lilt,
a syrupy air you could hum
like a song of John McCormack's.
I was into the blues, the sax,
significance: no way that Muddy
or Dylan could sing!
His judgments were mostly like that:
definitive, unbending, like his sense of style
marooned in the nineteen fifties,
when the rest of us came along –
his wild locks restrained,
sleeked down with a blob of Brylcreem.