GRANFER’S DOUBLE (©Words and music by Paul F. Cowlan)

I’ve no idea where this ‘Irish’ interlude  came from: it’s entirely untypical. I’m as English as rain in June and can’t stand interminable diddle-de-diddlefers, and whose story is told in the first section. The second part came to me, for no apparent reason, up among the ‘high tops’ of New Zealand. Ah, certain sure, and why not though?


Part I

In the 1820’s in the neighbourhood of Cork
I bundled up my tool box and took a walk
down the long, long road to London town,
where I settled at the Elephant and Castle.
Instrument-maker, such was my trade,
and many were the piccolos and whistles that I made;
but that’s long gone, great-great grandson,
and there’s precious little left to remind you.

Voices in the attic or a whisper on the stair;
but the years have come between us and you’ll find nobody there.
There’s never been a letter or a photo that survived,
so here’s a tune or two for the learning.

Now there’s nothing for me here, so I might as well be there.
Not a penny in my pocket, nor a blesséd soul to care.
But the devil I’ll be lonely if they’ll leave a man alone
to sit and whistle jigs to a milestone.
Up and down the country, away across the sea,
beer and bread and dripping will be good enough for me.
With a drop of poteen and a pretty colleen
I’ll be happy as a hog in clover.

Part II

I recently read of a military man
Who said he head heard of a government plan
to delve as dark and as deep as they can under Salisbury Plain.

And what they intended he couldn’t well say,
but he ventured to voice the opinion that they
intended to hide their weapons away under Salisbury Plain.

He could have been wrong, and he could have been right,
he could have been trying to give me a fright
by speaking of things that go bump in the night under Salisbury Plain.

But the very next night; as I lay in my bed,
a terrible vision came into my head
of honeycomb passages filled with the dead under Salisbury Plain.

I saw an explosion that blinded the sky.
I didn’t know who it was. Didn’t know why
they were busy with teaching the Devil to fly under Salisbury Plain.

And Wordsworth, Hardy, Powys and all,
an numberless others I don’t recall

could never have guessed what might befall under Salisbury Plain.