Stopping, not stopping

by Neil Donnelly

On Dublin’s Grafton Street I pass an old

man, vainly trying to squeeze notes from

a harmonica, an upturned empty hat as his feet.

Something of that ginger-graying, bent-down

head reminds me of my Sligo uncles.

Later, when I return he is gone.

Banners Restaurant, Crouch End, London.

a 6×4 plaque proclaims “Bob Dylan

sat at this table August 1993” and when

the waitress arrives, I ask about it, but

being no respecter of reputations, she

recalls He didn’t want to eat, he wanted

alcohol. We chucked him out!

On London’s Regent Street I pass that same

old man, with upturned empty hat still vainly

trying to squeeze notes from the harmonica,

and I think definitely, definitely on my return

I will stop and talk to him. Later when I reach

the place, he is gone.

Attempting music for those who wouldn’t

stop in a world with no time to spare.

Neil Donnelly

Neil Donnelly is the author of the poetry collections Tullamore Train and Sister Caravaggio as well as the author of several plays produced at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin.