Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I went down to Yorkshire for a silver wedding. My cousins were renewing their marriage vows, and afterwards, a party in a church hall with cold beef and a hot band. They played Irish folk while the diaspora danced. I love to dance. When I was a girl, I would play my one Irish folk record, vinyl and black, in my gran's bedroom. The room at the front, the only room large enough to hold a small and dancing girl. My mother would climb the stairs and say: "Don't play it so loud - the neighbours will hear." Hear rebel laments, she meant, which would never do. Hear too of unicorns that missed the ark, and of a beautiful girl with diamond eyes and a black velvet band holding back her hair. The fiddler struck up the tale of the boy bound for Van Diemen's Land because of her. I said to my own child: "Shall we dance?". She nodded. I scooped her up, all tartan and lilac tulle, and we walzed together. She watched the swirl around, my elderly aunt holding her sister in her own arms close by. She wanted down, and held up her hands for me to hold and move her still, turning her under, around and away, reeling her back. My dancing girl looked up at me - a beat - and smiled.