Comfort and Joy

Cate Ryan, Clonmel, Tipperary. wrote this letter to The Irish Times 27.12.19

A chara. – By night he sleeps in doorways and by day he comes here to the train station to play the piano. With his hood up, he sits hunched into himself, but his fingers spill like light across the keys.

And the rush of passersby is startled to a stand still, because he plays the familiar tunes as though his heart beats in his hands.

He’s not here today and the piano is silent. I sit down to it and my fingers stumble through the low and quiet notes of that old carol: “God rest ye merry gentlemen”. But when his hands reach down from behind and rest either side of mine, for a few brief moments we’re joined in the playing of it.

And there it is again, at last – that breathless surge of fresh remembrance that what is felt as holy are simply those acts shared between unguarded hearts.

I leave him then, join the crowd on our journeys home, to music played by a man whithout one. Yet he plays the piano with as fierce a wish as children’s eyes search the sky on Christmas Eve.

He plays as some will clasp their hands in prayer, “Good tidings of comfort and joy”. – Is mise

The editor writes: Reader I am aware this is a Christmas story but we are in a difficult time and in need of Comfort and Joy. May this talented man be blessed and also Cate Ryan for taking the trouble to write in.

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