Raftery’s Buttons

Pete Mullineaux

Raftery, blind poet and fiddler
negotiating the rough back roads
of Galway-Mayo, stumbling
over fallen trees, circumnavigating
lethal drains and ruts, raging
against rivals, the status quo
and all who had crossed him –
according to legend
composed himself
by mapping out tunes
on his waistcoat buttons;
sharpened his wits
flattened the humps and dips,
bum-notes of hidden pot-holes,
the curse of a thousand
cuts and sprains
with a steadying rhythm;
staved off the elements,
mellowed cares,
re-jigging old scores
wild ramblings
into sweet strains
and settled airs.