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Papa's Reel
        (for Tighe O'Callaghan, 1927 - 1989)
by Ed Bennett

My father danced his birthday dance
with my mother splendid in his arms,
in the eyes of all at the reception hall
we toasted him three times from many.

It was a joyous step to an old country reel
that granted him youth for a moment;
he whirled by his children with a grin and grace,
cheeks flushed with joy and with omen.

The party broke, friends sought to depart,
wished him well as he sat, out of breath;
smiling, calling for one last round
as Fate touched his heart and he keeled.

The scene was an uproar of panicked cries,
medics pounding and a daughter's tears;
his passing was swift as a joyous thought
cut short by a blatant finality.

I do not cry when I recall the day
of his last laugh and heady exit;
with a smile on his lips, held mama's hand
saw us grown and complete at the last.

If I must die let it be at my wake
stomping the floor to a fiddler's reel
potcheen in my belly and love in my heart,
God grant me time to enjoy my own ending.


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