From Ireland with Letters
about From Ireland with Letters

Judy Malloy: when we return again

It was a tune to end a set,
a tune that the audience
would want to hear again,
and the musicians would be happy
to play again.

As the story proceeds, this never ending narrative expands to three columns within a JavaScript-produced table. In two left-hand columns, art historian Liam O'Brien and trad Irish American fiddler, Máire Powers, are sitting together at the Farmhouse Cafe. In the right-hand column, in the woods of Mystik Side Massachusetts in May 1660, a voyeur's glimpse of the meeting of Cromwell-enslaved Irish Lord, Walter Power, and Puritan woman, Trial Shepard, unfolds, while at the same time, in the two left-hand columns, a quest for the no longer standing birthplace of Walter and Trial's descendent, abolitionist sculptor Hiram Powers, surfaces, submerges, surfaces.

Reader, the text in each column is produced at random. Like a painting, to which an artist daily adds new details unexpectedly in different areas of the picture plane, this unfinished Irish American song will, at the will of the computer, unfold in all columns, as long as you continue to press