Dónall Dempsey

(15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' 'BEING TILLY (for Scarlett)


“Tilly! ” “Get down
before you..! ”

like a kitten
on the keys

she tiptoes
across the piano’s keys

her footsteps
leaving a trail

of discordant

all F sharps
& E flats

before she falls
in a crashing crescendo

from major

of notes sprawled
across the softly

carpeted floor.

“Tilly! Tilly! ”
my voice tries to

catch her
in mid-fall

now she lies sulky
all legs a-kim-bo.

“I felled
my self! ”

She announces
to her self

disgusted that she
failed in her scales.

“Tilly...I told you
don’t play on the piano! ”

I scold her
now that the fear

...has gone.

“Me...not Tilly today! ”
she says in a movie Red Indian way.

“Oh &...just who
are you? ”

“Me...Frank! ”

“Frank! ”

“Yes...like Teddy! ”

(Frank is her Frankenstein look-alike
terrible teddy)

“When I grow up I want to be
a teddy! ”

“Oh...you do!
do you? ”

Tomorrow she will be

& then the day after

a little

Doesn’t accept
a name is a thing

to be
tied down to.

She changes it
day by day.

A different name

a scapegoat for
the nightly naughty things she does

when sleep &
counting sheep

doesn’t seem to work.

And today she’s

She soaks up stories
like the process of osmosis.

Scheherazade fails
to last

a 1000 & one

but nearly does.

There’s a tinkle
from the mooncast next room.

“Tilly! ” “You on
that piano again? ”

(she never figures out
how I know) .


“...Lulu is! ”

“Naughty Lulu! ”
she scolds her


“Tilllllllllllllllllllllllllllll llllly! ”

Submitted: Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Edited: Sunday, January 01, 2012

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