Peace Corps Writers
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Readings from The 40 + 1
Sing Where the Love Is
by John Wayne Seybold (Brazil 1966–68)
Over fifty RPCVs read about their Peace Corps experience at the 40 + 1 Conference. So that a wider audience might share in the readings, we will be publishing them online.
    A fortnight ago I backed up Danny
    on Mandolin at his school reunion,
    for the lads, he says, that put laughter
    and poetry in his soul in their roarin’ days
    when Sarah O’Donnell was liftin’ him
    out of his shoes with her smile.
    He charged life down to their bones
    with his guitar, they all said so.
    His voice charms sweet butter from the cow,
    and folks ask why he doesn’t
    promote himself and go for the bigtime.
    “No,” he says, “I sing where the love is.”

    Wherever he goes they ask for his Hands o’ Gold.
    It starts slow and reflective, like a maiden
    strollin’ a lakeshore in late afternoon.
    It picks up tempo and slips
    into a tappity syncopation, then broadens
    like a rill-fed river surgin’ to an opening on the plain.

    And Danny’s voice was smooth that night.
    With no signal between us we played through twice,
    repeatin’ the refrain at the end. Danny swayed,
    and his Gaelic lilt had no edge at all. I felt
    the music vibrate in my eyes, the harmonies
    blend in my throat — and did my fingers
    dance on the mandolin! Sweat dripped
    from Danny’s jaw; he smiled hard with eyes closed.
    And when we struck the last soft chord together,
    the lads and their wives sat
    still as a midnight pasture. Danny was bent
    like a listener, breathin’ husky, and I saw
    it was tears that dripped. “Ah, Michael,”
    he says to me, “that time we came mighty close
    to doin’ it perfect.”

   Jack Seybold recently retired after thirty-six years of teaching — not counting his service on the Brazil’s Amazon River where he was a Volunteer, and where, he writes, “I spent my honeymoon with my wife Sarah.”
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