Fiddler By Lamplight

by Irene Carlisle

Half-hidden where the dancing circle swings,
Lamplight upon his old and laughing eyes,
He lifts his bow and tries
Its sweet discordant rasp upon the strings.

A banjo’s fine on a moony night
When the young folks fall to singing,
But a homemade fiddle tunes the feet
And sets the floor boards ringing.

A guitar’s gay on the side-door step,
With a pretty girl to pick it,
But a fiddle sings like frosty wind
That blows through a black-haw thicket.

Butcherbird up and yellowhammer down,
Swing your partner round and round...
Chase the ‘possum, chase the ‘coon,
Chase that pretty girl round the moon,,,
Ladies in a ring and the gents bow under,
Break away, and swing like thunder...

Tangy and clear as elderberry wine
His music rises from the resonant pine,
He calls the changing couples into place,
Laughter and lamplight flickering in his face.

in Kinscella, Hazel Gertrude. America Sings. Lincoln, NE: University Publishing Co., 1940. pp.410-