i.m. Mike Donaghy

More instruments ring these walls than raised a roof
for God througout all medieval Christendom;
stone arcades spring like dancers from the Minster floor,
keyed to their lord’s calling-on song ‘Da Mihi Manum’.

The Irish call the parchment drum this angel quiets
a bodhran, though she lacks the ordinary beater:
Mike held his like a pen above the skin in wait,
counting on his own heart to inspire each tatoo.

But he might change to flute for quieter audiences,
bored without dancers’ feet to ground his syncopation;
when he charmed them with Ruari Dall’s ‘Give Me Your

so Mike’s book Wallflowers notes offbeat theories:
that we’re all God’s three dimensional handwriting
or how a pin’s head really can stage angels’ ceilidhs –
another made dance the mother of all languages;

then it gives all ‘This Living hand’, Keats’ last poem,
which dampens my skin like the touch of a felt mute.
I’ll sit out this stone angel till she leaves her drum,
raises and plays something quick on an Irish flute.