Just a Song at Twilight

John McCormack (1884-1945)


Just a Song at Twilight

A fading blue sky
         piled high with clouds
but backed by a red glow
         a promise of days to come
and down by the railway
         shadows gathering
in the tall oaks
         where birds are
straining their throats
         in evensong

I think of the dear dead days
         my father in the lounge
listening to John McCormack
         on the old gramophone
Just a song at twilight
         and the dreams that rose
out of his heart
         that wove themselves
into our lives as children
         the flickering gleam of the firelight
and his gentle reflection caught
         in the gold-framed mirror
his smile unabashed
         Sundays when he would sit
at the piano and sing
         to my mother
one of love’s sweet songs
         with delicate notes
at his fingertips
         enraptured but
neither sad nor weary

And as the train pulls in
         with the ear-piercing grind
of steel on steel
         I note how the chorus
from the trees
         has grown in volume
as though the birds
         in the ensemble
are quite decided
         that they will
under no circumstances
         be outsung

John Lyons


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