In Praise of Wooden Flutes – by Biddy Jenkinson
The following is a poem by the Irish poet Biddy Jenkinson (below right) who is a highly regarded Irish language writer and poet. She writes almost exclusively in Irish gaelic and has produced several collections of poetry as well as prose and other writings. In Praise of Wooden Flutes may well be the authors 'one-and-only' exception in English and Martin Doyle, who holds Biddy in very high regard, is proud to present this lighthearted but very relevant piece on his website.
In Praise of Wooden Flutes
I do not want a plastic flute
However perfect it may be
Peerless, crackless, ever-young,
flutes and men, alike, bore me.
Give me a flute whose voice is sound
most of the time, who has his days,
who squeaks a bit when warming up
and grumbles about cold and rain.
What woman wants a flute to stay
cucumber cool, when she is hot.
It should expand when they both play
and contract when the playing stops.
I would not want my flute to sing
as well, when I am dead of thirst
as when my breath is vintage wine
and all my spits are strong as stout.
Whatever cannot die, is dead.
Wood is quick with memory
of sun, moon, rain, wind, seed, shoot, leaf.
It learned to sing in swaying trees.
Let angels play on plastic flutes.
Angels are perfect, above all craic.
Fallen Eve says Timber! Wood!
And Devil mend it if it cracks!
– Biddy Jenkinson.