The Muse

(An International Journal of Poetry)

ISSN 2249 –2178


Volume-3                                                      DECEMBER -2013                                           Number-2


Neapolitan Mandolin

by Kevin Patrick McCarthy


I found a round–backed

Neapolitan mandolin, banded

in dark cherry, in our

attic when I was young

It had belonged to a droll

ancestor – had lain, unstrung,

for decades

We handled it awkwardly,

as strangers

This was clearly for others –

not just those with knowing

fingers, but those who would

rise and master

The instrument passed

through our hands – sold or

given away – for we lacked

the confidence to command

The loss was a bitter relief,

for the gourdish waiting had

made me self–conscious, afraid

of what I might do

In a dream, I receive a sacred

mandolin, much the same, but

miniature, decrepit – hardly

playable, but an answer, a

purpose pleading for strings