Philology XI


like olives
bagpipes are either
loved or hated:

opinions vary from
Shakespeare’s vituperative line
“when the bagpipe sings i’ the nose”
to the Glengarry story of
the pipers in the First World War
who one after another
mounted and played atop a tank
to be picked off by German snipers
until one played miraculously unhit
thereby totally demoralizing the Germans
who called pipers the devil’s whores

In Glengarry, at Maxville
on the August holiday weekend
is held the Annual Glengarry Highland Games
which swells this little village from
about eight hundred to twenty-five thousand
the largest highland games in the world

I love the perpetual sound of piping, drumming
that pervades the fairgrounds all weekend
and I can sit for hours and listen
to the Piobaireachd classical pipe music
which takes you to the Scottish countryside
and the scottish drummers who practise that
most complex of drumming and who by and large
know more about jazzy rhythms than
bar musicians do and of course,
there is the sound of the pipes everywhere
and most of all, the massed bands
which bring tremors into the earth
and teach you how Roman drums and horns
could have terrified their cowering wretched
oponents — with all that going for it
I look forward to lining up under the hot August sun
at a small stand which is there every year
where from great blocks they use wires to slice little slabs of


creamy sweet rich soft luscious
chocolate maple-walnut butter mint vanilla
butterscotch marble plain maple carmel


I can taste it still feel the warm sweet
soft delicious richness fill my mouth and memory
with the aromatic delights of delicious

and now the word
almost good enough to be a curse
it demands facial muscles
you can wrap your tongue around it
enjoy it just like


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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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