Wednesday, February 17, 2016

In the Mood

Tonight I'd like to post Donal Mahoney's "In the Mood."  His tribute to Glenn Miller and the dances where Big Band music played fits in nicely with Mary Jo Balistreri's memories of ice skating (which I posted here:

In the Mood

We're going dancing, my wife and I, 
to a Charity Ball high in the sky where
Glenn Miller's band has been playing 
since 1944, the year his plane got lost 
over the English Channel.
No wreckage was ever found,
not a single body.
Glenn Miller was going to France 
to play for American troops 
during World War II.
Government records say 
he's still "missing in action."

Maybe so, but I hate to go dancing, 
even with music by Glenn Miller.
So I told my wife I'll go if she
can find a dress as red
as the one she wore in 1956 
when Father Hennessy said,  
"This is a prom. Not burlesque."
A slip of a girl back then,
she made things worse 
with black seamed nylons.
All the rage back then, the nylons  
disturbed the padre.

But if my wife can find a bright red dress
and a pair of black seamed nylons,
I'll wear the old seersucker suit
I bought at Macy's for the prom. 
It goes real well with the "duck tie"
I found "on sale" for 50 cents  
at the Army Surplus store.
Father Hennessy loved that tie.
Even now I can hear him bellow,
"That tie's so wide the ducks 
will fly for 50 years to cross it."
How prescient the padre was. 

Donal Mahoney

Donal Mahoney has had fiction and poetry published in print and online publications in the U.S. and elsewhere. Among them are The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, The Galway Review (Ireland), The Osprey Journal (Wales), Public Republic (Bulgaria), and The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey).

Before I post tonight's music, I'd like to post some pictures of dance halls.  Donal's poem reminds me of my father and my aunt's stories of the dances they used to go to in back in the day.  Below is a drawing of the Totem Pole Ballroom in Newton, MA.

By Source, Fair use,

Below is a picture of contra dancing from the 1940s at Lovett Hall, which is actually in Detroit.

Revere Beach, MA was once known for its dance halls.

This is quite a bit older, from when my grandmother was a little girl, but I wanted to get a picture from Whalom Park, near where my mother grew up.

Let's play some music.  Of course, I have to start with "In the Mood":  

Here is "Sentimental Journey": 

I have to include "Blue Moon," one of my favorite songs: 

I'll finish with "Moonlight Serenade": 



  1. Donal,
    Great poem. I loved all the detail, can remember those proms. We had the Eagles club in MKE for dancing. It was such fun. I think I took up trombone because of that song. Wanted to play it in the worst way. Did your wife ever get the red dress? The nuns and priests had eagle eyes at the high school proms--Anyway, I liked the poem so much. You did it again.

  2. Love the duck's flight across the wide tie--sounds like even the padre knew something about wings beating...