Ballad Of St Anne’s Reel

David Mallett

He was stranded in some tiny town
On fair Prince Edward Island
Waiting for a ship to come and find him
A one horse place, a friendly face
Some coffee and a tiny trace
Of fiddlin’ in the distance far behind him

A dime across the counter then
A shy hello, a brand new friend
A walk along the street in the wintry weather
A yellow light, an open door
A “Welcome friend, there’s room for more”
Soon they’re standing there inside together

He said “I’ve heard that tune before somewhere
But I can’t remember when
Was it on some other friendly shore
Did I hear it on the wind
Was it written on the sky above
I think I heard it from someone I love
But I never heard it sound so sweet since then”

How his feet begin to tap
A little boy says “I’ll take your hat”
He’s caught up in the magic of his smile
Then leaps the heart inside him
When off across the floor
He sends his clumsy body, graceful as a child

He said “There’s magic in the fiddler’s arms
And there’s magic in this town
There’s magic in the dancers’ feet
From the way they put them down”
Smiling people everywhere
Boots and ribbons and locks of hair
Laughter and old blue suits and Easter gowns

The sailor’s gone, the room is bare
The old piano’s sitting there
Someones hat’s left hanging on the rack
Some empty chairs, the wooden floor
That feels the touch of shoes no more
Waiting for the dancers to come back

And the fiddle’s in the closet
Of some daughter of the town
Strings are broke and the bow is gone
And the case is buttoned down
But often on December nights
When the air is cold and the wind is right
There’s a melody comes passing through this town