Fellow of the Royal College of Hornpipes by David O’Neill

A prima lento, accelerando cantabile

When the tune starts slow, promenaders feel the magic
As the fiddler’s bow draws its opening sweep
And the melody is easing into incremental teasing
While the keen anticipation makes the spirit leap.

And with each repeat reinforcing the enchantment,
So the driving beat, in accelerando,
With its haunting incantation, musters gentle titubation
And a tapping of the foot upon the floor below.

As the masical mugicians work their artistry
From the nethermost Arena to the Gallery,
Infectious imitation of the mariner’s saltation
Spreads the tapping of the foot above the restless knee.

With the unrelenting rhythm winding up to speed,
So the gathering momentum serves a primal need;
The racing pulse is throbbing, hands are clapping, heads are bobbing;
And a Wooden bust of bronze beholds this bulldog breed.


David O’Neill is a frustrated mathematician who has journeyed through a predominantly life-science-based medical landscape for most of his mortgage-paying professional life, eventually finding salvation in the Open University, too close to the end for practical application but sufficiently early for peace of mind and poetic inspiration.



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