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Séamus Ennis and Jean Ritchie animation
constructed from photos on the
Ritchie Pickow Photographic Archive.

The Piper's Wife
by Maura O Farrell

If you should want a quiet life,
Then never be a piper's wife
He'll drive you mad with tales of woe
Of how his reeds refuse to crow,
And when his drones are out of tune,
You'll really have to leave the room.
Those pipes will make him curse and swear,
And make you want to tear your hair,
And when he comes to cran and roll,
Those off-pitch notes will take their toll.

But don't despair, don't leave in haste
His practice will not go to waste.
For one day you will hear a sound,
And your heart will give a mighty pound
A tune in time, a tune in pitch,
And played right through without a hitch,
And from then on, your battered ear
Can safely listen, without fear.
As the music flows at an even canter,
There's nothing as sweet as the song of the chanter.
A Piper
(by Séamus O'Sullivan) 1912

A piper in the street to-day
Set up, tuned, and started to play,
And away, away, away on the tide
Of his music we started; on every side
Doors and windows were opened wide,
And men left down their work and came,
And women in petticoats coloured like flame,
And little bare feet that were blue with cold,
Went dancing back to the age of gold,
And all the world went gay, went gay,
For half an hour in the street to-day.
At Tea, With Píobaireacht
by Jim Tschen-Emmons

The tea on the table,
And the smiles all around,
Steam quietly mixed with
The wonderful sweet sound;
The drones played out the past,
Chords kept minds on changes,
Flying fingers flapped
Revealing sorrow's ranges.

Their pipes down for luncheon,
But music still on air,
We ate cake and legend,
The joy of the píobaire;
The pipes breathed once again,
The chanter's charm was cast,
Smiling sorrow swelled
Filling us to the last.

The pipes rested in case,
And we set out for home,
But the music lingered--
The melody and drone;
These pipes we'll hear again,
When old friends we will meet,
Peeling pipes pounding
And with smiles in the street.
Geoff Wooff
by Ronnie Wathen.

Now,musical-instrument making is murder,
It can drive a man to insanity's border
Drilling a full set of pipes to order.

To give you a clue to the size of the task
There's forty-eight pieces of ivory tusk
Fitted to my pipes,just so I can busk.

These silver mountings that add to my fun
Total one hundred and seventy-one,
Work as exquisite as a naval gun.

Fifteen battens of the blackest ebony
Were turned by Geoff Wooff to the sweetest of honey,
Every inch of my pipes has been worth the money.

Here's a cover of green that is velvet and dark
Over a leather bag with a very long neck,
And a rosewood cup and a boxwood stock

Which is tapered and hollowed to mellow the guills
Of the elder-drones with a purr that thrills,
And incidentally adds to my bills.

All made by Geoff, now deprived of his work,
Without my pipes in the Australian outback
He wishes he'd the money to buy them back!
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