By Aidan Hynes


I grew up with pianos in my head

notes like sirens call each day,

in rooms I enter with an upright

raincoats hang from chairs

children read Beano and Bunty

before turning to Bach and Chopin.

In windows the purple glow of a paraffin heater

burns winter with musical airs

notes dissolve where curtains are drawn

in the piano room where my father was waked. 


When the musician misses a beat

I hear the swish of my mother’s dress,

pencil marks on the music sheet

resoluto, a tempo, crescendo

filters to the family table.

Little fingers run arpeggios

bellicose waltzes, a cacophony

of marches, my mother 

holds a hand on the half note

and sighs with only days to go.


In rooms I enter with an upright

there are promises to keep

arguments in sealed lips,

Sunday dressed pupils anticipate polished ivory

a final hairbrush in the dusted mirror

the Academy examiner takes tea in a china cup

hot palms close handwritten theory books.

Resoluto, a tempo, crescendo

my mother’s judgment day has come.




Born in Co. Mayo, Aidan Hynes is a teacher and writer based in Dublin. He has published short fiction and poetry in various magazines, newspapers and journals, including the short story anthology 'Ireland In Exile' (Ed. Dermot Bolger), and 'Summer in the Story', The Irish Times (Write Now series), Whispers and Shouts, Connaught Tribune, Delo (Slovenia's national daily - translated short fiction), Irish Echo (New York), among others. A runner up in short fiction George Moore Gold Medal Award (2004), including short listed and runner up in 'Over The Edge New Writer of the Year' (2007, 2013, 2015). In 2008 Aidan was awarded an Arts Literature Bursary from Dublin City Council. He has taken up several artists' residences in Ireland and Spain. He holds an M.Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College, Dublin.