Oral Tradition

My uncle John made a song about his friends

He called it ‘The Attawalla Band’

That’s the way with peasantry and poetry

Make a rhyme you always can command


Before the times of writing and of script

Oral tradition is the thing

Tell the story in a rhyme easy to recall

Tell it out or even let it sing


In my mother’s glen a man they called the poet

McMenamin his name and that’s a rhyme

He’s credited with the song that’s now immortal

And Uncle John part author at the time


Sung so many times and many know it

Aunty Sarah sang it oft with pride

The story of her place and of her people

Its name, of course, ‘Down by Glencullen Side’


Today a man John Agard has been honoured

For poetry so agile and such fun

Humour is his weapon when he’s serious

Disarm your foe by tickling his tum


He writes about his life in Clapham Common

A place I knew so well so long ago

Enjoyed a pint played football watched old Concorde fly

Concorde’s gone but words are here you know


Brian Fahy

9 November 2021



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