I come from the east, with a clutch under my arm: five Irish women poets

Double portrait in black and white © Cory Smith

Double portrait in black and white © Cory Smith

Vona Groarke (Edgeworthstown / Athlone, Ireland, born 1964)
The Clutch Handbag
.
Black bombazine with grosgrain binding,
a clasp of diamanté butterflies and a row
of bevelled ivory sequins threaded with slipknots.
.
Finesse. A lipstick of a certain red,
a bronze compact, the cachet
of an embossed cigarette case.
.
Emerald lining that is like glossy music
from a dance-hall band or the sheen
of sable eyes on the mink stole
.
whose snout rounds on the very shape
of a tear in the satin no bigger than
her incarnadine thumbnail
.
through which five decades
have slipped like small coins
skittering the open notes
.
of a foxtrot or an old-time waltz
that nobody, but nobody,
recalls.
. . .
from the collection Spindrift © Vona Groarke and The Gallery Press
. . .
Máire Mhac an tSaoi (Dublin, Ireland, born 1922)
A fhir dar fhulaingeas
.
A fhir dar fhulaingeas grá fé rún,
Feasta fógraím an clabhsúr:
Dóthanach den damhsa táim,
Leor mo bhabhta mar bhantráill.
.
Tuig gur toil liom éirí as,
Comhraím eadrainn an costas:
‘Fhaid atáim gan codladh oíche
Daorphráinn orchra mh’osnaíle.
.
Goin mo chroí, gad mo gháire,
Cuimhnigh, a mhic mhínáire,
An phian, an phláigh, a chráigh mé,
Mo dhíol gan ádh gan áille.
.
Conas a d’agróinnse ort
Claochló gréine ach t’amharc,
Duí gach lae fé scailp dhaoirse –
Malairt bhaoth an bhréagshaoirse!
.
Cruaidh an cás mo bheith let ais,
Measa arís bheith it éagmais;
Margadh bocht ó thaobh ar bith
Mo chaidreamh ortsa, a óigfhir.
. . .
from the collection An paróiste míorúilteach/The miraculous parish ( Rogha
 dánta/Selected poems), edited by Louis de Paor, © Máire Mhac an tSaoi and The O’Brien Press/Clóiar-Chonnacht
. . .
Máire Mhac an tSaoi
Man for whom I endured
.
Man, for whom I suffered love
In secret, I now call a halt.
I’ll no longer dance in step.
Far too long I’ve been enthralled.
.
Know that I desire surcease,
Reckon up what love has cost
In racking sighs, in blighted nights
When every hope of sleep is lost.
.
Harrowed heart, strangled laughter;
Though you’re dead to shame, I charge you
With my luckless graceless plight
And pain that plagues me sorely.
.
Yet, can I blame you that the sun
Darkens when you are in sight?
Until I’m free each day is dark –
False freedom to swap day for night!
.
Cruel fate, if by your side.
Crueller still, if set apart.
A bad bargain either way
To love you or to love you not.
. . .
Translation from Irish into English: Biddy Jenkinson
. . .
Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (Cork, Ireland, born 1942)
The Bend in the Road
.
This is the place where the child
Felt sick in the car and they pulled over
And waited in the shadow of a house.
A tall tree like a cat’s tail waited too.
They opened the windows and breathed
Easily, while nothing moved. Then he was better.
.
Over twelve years it has become the place
Where you were sick one day on the way to the lake.
You are taller now than us.
The tree is taller, the house is quite covered in
With green creeper, and the bend
In the road is as silent as ever it was on that day.
.
Piled high, wrapped lightly, like the one cumulus cloud
In a perfect sky, softly packed like the air,
Is all that went on in those years, the absences,
The faces never long absent from thought,
The bodies alive then and the airy space they took up
When we saw them wrapped and sealed by sickness
Guessing the piled weight of sleep
We knew they could not carry for long;
This is the place of their presence: in the tree, in the air.
. . .
from the collection The Girl Who Married the Reindeer
© Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and The Gallery Press
. . .
Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (Dingle/Tipperary, Ireland, born 1952)
Venio Ex Oriente
.
Tugaim liom spíosraí an Oirthir
is rúin na mbasár
is cúmhraín na hAráibe
ná gealfaidh do láimhín bán.
.
Tá henna i m’chuid ghruaige
is péarlaí ar mo bhráid
is tá cróca meala na bhfothach
faoi cheilt i m’imleacán.
.
Ach tá mus eile ar mo cholainnse,
boladh na meala ó Imleacht Shlat
go mbíonn blas mísmín is móna uirthi
is gur dorcha a dath.
. . .
From Selected Poems © 2004, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and New Island Books
. . .
Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
“I Come from The East”
.
Eastern spices I bring with me,
and from bazaars, a mystery:
and perfumes from Arabic land
would not make bright your small white hand.
.
My hair is henna-brown
and pearls from my neck hang down
and my navel here conceals
vials of the honey of wild bees.
.
But my body breathes another musk
that smells of wild mint and turf:
scent of honey from an ancient hill
that has darkness in its tint.
. . .
Translation from Irish into English: Michael Hartnett
. . .
Dairena Ní Chinnéide (Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland)
Suantraí na Meánmhara
.
Chuaigh an Trodaí fén uisce
is bhí pátrúin a saoil san uisce glas
comharthaí ón bhfarraige eachtrannach
ag cur comhairle uirthi fanacht fó thoinn.
d’oscail domhan mealltach
is bhí sí ar a suaimhneas
i bhfad ó chlann is leannáin
domhan draíochta an Trodaí fé uisce
fhliuch sí, is fhliuch sí í féin
d’fhonn fothain a fháil ón teas
shnámh sí lena súile oscailte
is shnámhfadh sí go dtí an Ghréig
chun éalú óna laincisí saolta
léirphictiúir ghrinneall na Meánmhara
is macalla na dtonn in suantraí aici.
. . .
from the collection An Trodaí & Dánta Eile / The Warrior & Other Poems
© Dairena Ní Chinnéide and Cló Iar-Chonnacht
. . .
Dairena Ní Chinnéide
Mediterranean Lullaby
.
The Warrior went under water
and the patterns of her life lay in the green
signs from a foreign ocean
advising her to stay under the waves
a magically enticing world opened
and she was at peace
far from her family and her lover
the magical Warrior world under the waves
she wet and wet herself
to take shelter from the heat
she swam with her eyes open
and she would swim to Greece
to escape her mortal ties
images from the bottom of the Mediterranean
and echoes of the waves her lullaby.
. . .
Translation from Irish into English: Dairena Ní Chinnéide
. . . . .

Poems for Saint Patrick’s Day: Jenkinson, Davitt, Ó Searcaigh, Ní Dhomhnaill

ZP_An Irish language book cover from 1929

ZP_An Irish language book cover from 1929

Biddy Jenkinson (born 1949)

Cruit Dhubhrois”

.

Bruith do laidhre im théada ceoil

ag corraíl fós, a chruitire,

clingeadh nóna ar crith go fóill

im chéis is an oíche ag ceiliúradh.

.

Oíche thláith, gan siolla aeir,

a ghabhann chuici sinechrith

mo shreangán nó go dtéann falsaer

grá mar rithí ceoil faoin mbith,

.

Go gcroitheann criogar a thiompán,

go gcnagann cosa briosca míl,

go sioscann fionnadh liath leamhain,

go bpleancann damhán téada a lín.

.

Is tá mo chroí mar fhuaimnitheoir

do chuisleoirí na cruinne cé

ón uair gur dhein mé fairsing ann

don raidhse tuilteach againn féin.

.

Nuair a leagann damhán géag

go bog ar théada rite a líne

léimeann mo théada féin chun ceoil

á ngléasadh féin dod láimhseáil chruinn.

 

.     .     .

 

The Harp of Dubhros”

.

Harper, hot your fingers still

stirring me on every string,

look, the night has climbed the hill

yet your noon-day strummings ring.

.

Balmy night bereft of air

slowly take the murmur-strain!

All that is, was ever there,

fugued to fullness and love’s reign.

.

Until the cricket’s drumming rasp,

and insect leg of silver gut,

grey moth-fur emits a gasp,

on music’s web the spider-strut!

.

A sounding box within my chest

for busy buskers everywhere,

for every decibel compressed

recurring in the brightening air.

.

When the spider tests his weave

sweetly on each glistening line:

all my harp-strings leap and heave

– knowing that the tuning’s fine.

 

.

Translation from Irish © Gabriel Rosenstock

 

.     .     .

 

Michael Davitt (1950 – 2005)

An Sceimhlitheoir”

.

Tá na coiscéimeanna tar éis filleadh arís.

B’fhada a gcosa gan lúth gan

fuaim.

.

Seo trasna mo bhrollaigh iad

is ní féidir liom

corraí;

.

stadann tamall is amharcann siar

thar a ngualainn is deargann

toitín.

.

Táimid i gcúlsráid dhorcha gan lampa

is cloisim an té ar leis

iad

.

is nuair a dhírím air féachaint cé atá ann

níl éinne

ann

.

ach a choiscéimeanna

ar comhchéim le mo

chroí.

 

.     .     .

 

The Terrorist”

.

The footsteps have returned again.

The feet for so long still

and silent.

.

Here they go across my breast

and I cannot

resist;

.

they stop for a while, glance

over the shoulder, light

a cigarette.

.

We are in an unlit backstreet

and I can hear who

they belong to

.

and when I focus to make him out

I see there is

no one

.

but his footsteps

keeping step with my

heart.

 

 

.

Translation from Irish: Michael Davitt / Philip Casey

 

.     .     .

 

Cathal Ó Searcaigh (born 1956)

I gCeann Mo Thrí Bliana A Bhí Mé”

(do Anraí Mac Giolla Chomhaill)

.

Sin clábar! Clábar cáidheach,

a chuilcigh,” a dúirt m’athair go bagrach

agus mé ag slupairt go súgach

i ndíobhóg os cionn an bhóthair.

Amach leat as do chuid clábair

sula ndéanfar tú a chonáil!”

.

Ach choinnigh mé ag spágáil agus ag splaiseáil

agus ag scairtigh le lúcháir:

Clábar! Clábar! Seo mo chuid clábair!”

Cé nár chiallaigh an focal faic i mo mheabhair

go dtí gur mhothaigh mé i mo bhuataisí glugar

agus trí gach uile líbín de mo cheirteacha

creathanna fuachta na tuisceana.

.

A chlábar na cinniúna, bháigh tú mo chnámha.

 

.     .     .

 

When I was three”

(for Anraí Mac Giolla Chomhaill)

.

That’s muck! Filthy muck, you little scamp,”

my father was so severe in speech

while I was messing happily

in my mud-trench by the road.

Out with you from that muck

before you freeze to death!”

.

But I continued shuffling, having fun,

all the time screaming with delight:

Muck! Muck! It’s my own muck!”

But the word was nothing in my innocence

until I felt the squelch of wellies

and, through the dripping of wet clothes,

the shivering knowledge of water.

.

Ah! Muck of destiny, you drenched my bones!

 

.

Translation from Irish © Thomas Mc Carthy

ZP_The Half-Witted Cowboy_ book cover for an Irish language novel from 1960

ZP_The Half-Witted Cowboy_ book cover for an Irish language novel from 1960

.     .     .

Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill (born 1952)

Ceist na Teangan”

.

Cuirim mo dhóchas ar snámh

i mbáidín teangan

faoi mar a leagfá naíonán

i gcliabhán

a bheadh fite fuaite

de dhuilleoga feileastraim

is bitiúman agus pic

bheith cuimilte lena thóin

.

ansan é a leagadh síos

i measc na ngiolcach

is coigeal na mban sí

le taobh na habhann,

féachaint n’fheadaraís

cá dtabharfaidh an struth é,

féachaint, dála Mhaoise,

an bhfóirfidh iníon Fháiróinn?

 

.     .     .

 

The Language Issue”

.

I place my hope on the water

in this little boat

of the language, the way a body might put

an infant

.

in a bucket of intertwined

iris leaves,

its underside proofed

with bituman and pitch.

.

then set the whole thing down amidst

the sedge

and bulrushes by the edge

of a river

.

only to have it borne hither and thither,

not knowing where it might end up;

in the lap, perhaps,

of some Pharaoh’s daughter.

 

.

Translation from Irish © Paul Muldoon

.     .     .     .     .


Filíocht do Samhain, Là na Marbh / Irish poems, verses for Samhain + All Souls Day

 

Cathal Ó Searcaigh

“Samhain 1994”

.

Anocht agus mé ag meabhrú go mór fá mo chroí

Gan de sholas ag lasadh an tí ach fannsholas gríosaí

Smaointím airsean a dtug mé gean dó fadó agus gnaoi.

A Dhia, dá mba fharraige an dorchadas a bhí eadrainn

Dhéanfainn long den leabaidh seo anois agus threabhfainn

Tonnta tréana na cumhaí anonn go cé a chléibhe…

Tá sé ar shiúl is cha philleann sé chugam go brách

Ach mar a bhuanaíonn an t-éan san ubh, an crann sa dearcán;

Go lá a bhrátha, mairfidh i m’anamsa, gin dá ghrá.

 

.     .     .

 

Cathal Ó Searcaigh

(born 1956, Gort an Choirce, County Donegal, Ireland)

“November* 1994”

Editor’s note:  the word Samhain is, in contemporary Irish,

also synonymous with the word for November.

.

Tonight as I search the depths of my heart,

in the dark of the house and the last ember-light,

I’m thinking of one I loved long ago.

.

And if the darkness between us became like the sea,

I’d make a boat of this bed, plunge its bow

through the waves that barge the heart’s quay.

.

Although he is gone and won’t ever be back,

I’ll guard in my soul the last spark of his love,

like the bird in the egg and the tree in the nut.

 

 

.

Translation from Irish:  Nigel McLoughlin

.

.     .     .

 

Rody Gorman

“Mo Mharana”

.

D’fhág mé an suíochán

Ina gcaitheadh is a gcognaíodh sé féin

Gan bhogadh tamall fada,

Mar a bhfuair sé bás

Thall i gcois an tinteáin.

.

Shuigh mé go ndearna mé mo mharana

Sa deireadh. Cheap mé dán

Agus fuair mé réidh leis.

 

.     .     .

 

Rody Gorman (born 1960, Dublin, Ireland)

“Contemplation”

.

I avoided the chair

in which he’d spent and chewed away,

and didn’t move for a long time,

he’d died

over there by the fireplace.

.

In the end, I sat

in contemplation. I composed a poem

and had done with it.

 

 

.

Translation from Irish:  Michael S. Begnal

.

“Samhain 1994” and “Mo Mharana” © Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Rody Gorman
.     .     .

 

“All Hallow’s” 

(Irish-American poem – Author unknown)

.

The voices of the dead…

Are you with me, grandfather?

Do you hear me, spirits of the past?

Is the night hurrying because of you?

.

The answers are not in unhoped for words

but the images of night:

the cloak, the stillborn wind ripping brown leaves,

rain on the sidewalk, clay earth

becoming mud, mute stars,

the tree sighing as it dies,

the ending of the day, the halo of dawn,

the night-touch, the wolves’ howl,

the heart, the soul, of the dark.

.

Because we know, we know you well.

The voices of the dead carry my heart,

whispering, wind-voiced.

What do they know but Time?

Timelessness is not theirs;

they surpass it, as they surpass the images of night.

My time is coming.

I must leave, as we all must, as the dead have,

wandering in their cities of different light,

strange and still, touching each other

as they pass, tenderly,

with the fingertips, as they pass,

walking home.

 

.     .     .

 

Irish lyric tenor John McCormack (1884-1945) was one of the earliest singing voices to be put on “phonograph record”.  Pianist and composer Charles Marshall (1857-1927) wrote the music and words for the following sentimental popular song, “I Hear You Calling Me”, which was recorded by both men (John’s voice, Charles at the piano) in 1908.  The song’s tender theme is entirely appropriate for All Souls Day.

.

“I Hear You Calling Me”

.

I hear you calling me –

You called me when the moon had veiled her light,

before I went from you into the night…

I came,

do you remember?

back to  you

for one last kiss

beneath the kind star’s light.

.

I hear you calling me –

And oh, the ringing gladness of your voice,

that warmth that made my longing heart rejoice.

You spoke,

do you remember?

and my heart

still hears

the distant music of your voice.

.

I hear you calling me –

Though years have stretched their weary length between

and on your grave the mossy grass is green.

I stand –

do you behold me listening here?

.

Hearing your voice through all the years between

–  I hear you calling me…
.     .     .

 

Thomas Moore (born Dublin, 1779, died 1852)

Editor’s note:  Moore was a great collector of Irish Traditional poems and songs,
told or sung to him by people who were illiterate.  Some of these verses he ‘tweaked’, making them rather more sophisticated than the folk originals – but the presence of Death remains, as in the earlier anonymous oral versions.

.

“Oh, ye Dead!”

(Irish Traditional)

.

Oh, ye Dead! oh, ye Dead! whom we know by the light you give

From your cold gleaming eyes, though you move like men who live,

Why leave you thus your graves,

In far off fields and waves,

Where the worm and the sea-bird only know your bed,

To haunt this spot where all

Those eyes that wept your fall,

And the hearts that wail’d you, like your own, lie dead?

.

It is true, it is true, we are shadows cold and wan;

And the fair and the brave whom we loved on earth are gone;

But still thus even in death,

So sweet the living breath

Of the fields and the flowers in our youth we wander’d o’er,

That ere, condemn’d, we go

To freeze ‘mid *Hecla’s snow,

We would taste it a while, and think we live once more!

 

.

* Hecla refers to Mount Hecla, the active volcano in Iceland (not Ireland).  Stories grew up around reports – possibly by mediaeval sailors – of the mystical strangeness of Hecla.

.     .     .

“The Unquiet Grave”

(Traditional – Ireland, Scotland, England)

.

The wind doth blow today, my Love,

A few small drops of rain

I never had but one true Love

In cold clay she is laid.

.

I’ll do as much for my true Love

As any young man may

I’ll sit and mourn all on her grave

A twelve-month and a day.

.

The twelve-month and the day being gone

A voice spoke from the deep:

Who is it sits all on my grave

And will not let me sleep?

.

”Tis I, ’tis I, thine own true Love

Who sits upon your grave

For I crave one kiss from your sweet lips

And that is all I seek.

.

You crave one kiss from my clay cold lips

But my breath is earthly strong,

Had you one kiss from my clay cold lips

Your time would not be long.

.

My time be long, my time be short,

Tomorrow or today,

May God in Heaven have all my soul

– But I’ll kiss your lips of clay!

.

See down in yonder garden green,

Love, where we used to walk

The sweetest flower that ever grew

Is withered to the stalk.

The stalk is withered dry, my Love,

And will our hearts decay

So make yourself content, my Love,

Till death calls you away…

 

“Quick! we have but a second!”

(Irish Traditional)

.

Quick! we have but a second,

Fill round the cup while you may;

For Time – the churl – hath beckon’d,

And we must away, away!

Grasp the pleasure that’s flying,

For oh, not Orpheus’ strain

Could keep sweet hours from dying,

Or charm them to life again.

.

Then, quick! we have but a second,

Fill round the cup while you may.

For Time – the churl – hath beckon’d,

And we must away, away!

.

See the glass, how it flushes,

Like some young (maiden’s) lip,

And half meets thine, and blushes

That thou shouldst delay to sip.

Shame, oh shame unto thee,

If ever thou see’st that day,

When a cup or lip shall woo thee,

And turn untouch’d away!

.

Then, quick! we have but a second,

Fill round, fill round while you may,

For Time – the churl – hath beckon’d,

And we must away, away!


Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh: Habla la “Voz” irlandesa / The Irish “Voice” Speaks

ZP_Kerry Way walking path between Sneem and Kenmare_Ireland

.

Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

(nace 1984, Tralee, condado de Kerry, Irlanda

/ born 1984, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland)

“Cuando Uno Se Desespera”

 .

 Hay algunos días cuando

– admitámoslo –

me canso de

unirme por su defensa

Me agoto de estar arraigado

aquí junto a su cabecera

Esta lengua

que ha sido violada,

estoy esperando que se recupere,

cuidando de ella, diligentemente,

deseándole que la Vida entre en ella de nuevo

Y cuando veo

sus huesos pudriéndose

calcificándose

Sé que

algún día

no quedará nada

sólo el polvo, mudo…

como yo – si pensamos en esto.

 

_____

 

“Laethanta Lagmhisnigh”

.

Admhaím corrlá

bím traochta

dá cosaint os comhair an tsaoil

Bím bréan de bheith fréamhaithe

cois leapan

na teangan éignithe

seo

ag guí biseach uirthi

á faire go cúramach

ag impí beatha inti arís

Is nuair a chím

a cnámha lofa

ag cailciú

tuigim

ná beidh fágtha

lá éigin

ach smúit bhalbh . . .

ach an oiread liom féin.

 

_____

 

“When One Despairs”

.

Some days, let’s admit it,

I tire

of rallying to her defence

I weary of being rooted

here by her bedside

this language

that has been violated

hoping she’ll come around

watching her assiduously

wishing the life back into her again

And when I see

her rotting bones

calcifying

I know that

one day

there will be nothing left

nothing but dust, mute . . .

like myself, come to think of it.

 

_____

 

“Un Tema de Cierto Pesar”

.

No, no estoy tan deprimido que

me quedo

debajo del edredón

todo el día

– eso sería una exageración.

Sólo es que

mi ojo

me hizo feliz verle a usted,

Desconocido,

a quien dejé ahí

anoche.

Y esta mañana

en mi boca

hay un sabor de cerveza negra

– y el pesar.

 

_____

 

 “Áiféilín”

.

Nílim chomh duairc

go bhfanfainn

fén duvet

ar feadh an lae

sin áibhéil.

Níl ann ach gur

thug mo shúil

taithneamh éigin duit,

a stróinséir

is gur fhágas

im dhiaidh tú

oíche aréir

agus go bhfuil

blas pórtair

is áiféala

im’ bhéal

ar maidin.

 

_____

 

“A Matter of Some Regret”

.

No, I’m not so depressed

as to stay

under the duvet

all day

That would be an exaggeration.

It’s just that

my eye

gladdened at the sight of you,

Stranger,

left behind

last night.

And this morning

there’s a taste of stout

and regret

in my mouth.

.

.

© Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

Translation from Irish into English:

© Gabriel Rosenstock


_____

 

“Barrio Chino”

.

Barrio chino

bullicio sin final

un sonido resaltó

entre los enredados sonidos

jalándome hacia

su súplica…

era un pescado

en una vasija poco profunda

pataleando

con mucha urgencia.

Una mujer que lo miraba

con ojos saltados

como los ojos del pescado,

alcanzando la orilla

sin esperanzas.

 

_____

 

“Herida”

 .

El Corrib* se desbordó

anoche

una poza debajo del Arco

el cielo amenaza esta mañana

y a mi casi me aplastan

en la luz roja del semáforo

un hombre de nariz aguileña

sentado en un pequeño muro,

dolor en sus ojos.

un cisne en sus brazos,

una bolsa negra la cobijaba,

una herida brillante es su blanco cuello.

.

.

*Corrib – un río en el condado de Galway, Irlanda

 

_____

 

“Chinatown”

.

rírá síoraí Chinatown

éiríonn torann amháin

os cionn an chlampair

is meallann mé chuige

lena impí…

iasc a bhí ann

in árthach íseal

ag slup slaparnach

le hoiread práinne.

Bean á fhaire

a súile ar bolgadh

amhail súil an éisc

ag cur thar maoil

le neart gan feidhm.

 

_____

 

Cneá”

.

bhris an Choirib a bruacha

aréir

bhí tuile fén bPóirse

bhagair an spéir ar maidin,

is ba dhóbair gur deineadh leircín díom

ag solas tráchta dearg

bhí fear cromógach suite

ar bhalla íseal,

goin ina shúile.

ina bhaclainn, bhí eala,

sac dubh uimpi

is cneá dearg ar a muineál bán.

 

_____

 

“Chinatown”

.

Chinatown

the racket’s neverending

one sound rose

above the jingle jangle

drawing me towards

its plea…

it was a fish

in a shallow vessel

slup-slopping about

with much urgency.

A woman watching it

her eyes bulging

like the eyes of the fish

bulging to the brim

helplessly.

.

.

Translation from the Irish: Gabriel Rosenstock

 

_____

 

“Wound”

.

the Corrib* broke its banks

last night

a pool under the Arch

the sky threatened this morning

and I was almost flattened

at a red traffic light

a hook-nosed man sat

on a low wall,

hurt in his eyes.

in his arms was a swan,

a black sack around her,

a bright red wound on her white neck.

.

.

*Corrib – a river in County Galway, Ireland

Translation from the Irish:  by the poet herself.

 

_____

About the Poet:

Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh’s first collection of poetry, Péacadh, was published in 2008.  She has read poetry in Montréal, New York, Paris and Baile an Fheirtéaraigh.  She was raised speaking Irish and English, but writes in Irish only as she thinks it’s a more exciting language.

_____

Traducciones del inglés en español /

Translations from English into Spanish:

Alexander Best  (“Cuando Uno se Desespera” y “Un Tema de Cierto Pesar”)

Lidia García Garay  (“Barrio Chino” y “Herida”/ “Chinatown” and “Wound”)

_____


Caitríona Ní Chléirchín: La nueva poetisa lírica irlandesa / The new love lyricist of Irish poetry

Two scythes.

Caitríona Ní Chléirchín

(nace/born 1978, Gortmoney, Emyvale,

condado de Monaghan, Irlanda/Ireland)

“Segando con Guadaña”

.

Érase una vez, la guadaña

era afilada

con la piedra de guadaña

ocultada

debajo del tocador

por miedo de que

un niño hiciera pedazos de ella.

.

Hoy día, no quedan ni guadaña ni piedra de guadaña

sólo los pedazos de recuerdo.

 

_____


“Spealadóireacht”

.

Tráth, cuireadh

faobhar ar speal

le cloch faobhair

a cuireadh faoi cheilt

faoin drisiúr

ar eagla go ndéanfadh

leanbh conamar de.

.

Inniu, níl speal, ná cloch faobhair,

ná drisiúr a thuilleadh,

níl ach conamar na gcuimhní againn.

 

_____

 

“Scything”

.

Once, a scythe

would be sharpened

with the scything stone

hidden

under the dresser

for fear

a child would make fragments of it.

.

Today, no scythe or scything stone remains

only the fragments of memory.

 

_____

 

“Abeja”

.

Como una abeja casi en mi corazón,

apareciste floreando por mis pechos,

y todos tus besos eran las picaduras más dulces,

atrayéndome con besos-picaduras.

Hiciste la miel en mi ombligo,

pero la picadura la más grande fue entre mis piernas.

Me pinchaste

con palabras tan suaves.

Revoloteó el corazón

y debajo de ti

como un azahar o un tallo, me doblé.

Me abriste como una puerta de miel

y todo mi dulzura bebiste.

Está moteado ahora el cuerpo con picaduras azules-rojas,

con salpicadura de gema morada,

y pintada por todo con mordiscos de amor y odio.

Clavaste en mí tu aguijón,

y llena mi cabeza tu zángano.

Una abeja salvaje, un abejorro zumbando

dentro de mí para siempre,

nunca mostrándome ninguna clemencia.

 

_____


“Beach”

.

Ba gheall le beach i mo chroí thú.

Tháinig tú amach ag bláthú trí mo chíocha

is ba chealg mhilis iad na póga

cealgphógadh do mo chealgadh.

Rinne tú mil i m’imleacán,

ach chuaigh an chealg ba mhó idir an dá chos.

Phrioc tú mé

le briathra míne.

Tháinig eitilt ar mo chroí

is lúb mé fút mar bhláth, mar ghas.

D’oscail tú mé mar dhoras meala

is d’ól tú uaim

achan mhilseacht.

Anois tá mo cholainn breactha le cealga gormdhearga,

buailte le seodchealga corcra

clúdaithe le baill seirce is fuatha ó bhun go barr.

Sháigh tú ionam do chealg bheiche

is níor stad do dhordán riamh i m’inchinn.

Beach fhiáin ab ea thú, bumbóg ag crónán go síoraí ionam

is ní raibh trócaire ar bith agat dom.

 

_____

 

“Bee”

.

Like a bee almost in my heart,

you emerged flowering though my breasts,

and your every kiss was the sweetest sting,

enticing me with sting-kissing.

You made honey in my navel,

but the greatest sting went between my legs.

You pricked me

with words so gentle.

My heart fluttered

and beneath you

like a blossom or a stem, I bent.

You opened me like a honey door

and all my sweetness you drank.

My body is speckled now with blue-red stings,

with purple gem-sting stippling,

and dappled all over with love and hate bites.

You thrust your bee-sting into me,

and your drone still fills my brain.

A wild bee, a bumbling humming bee

forever inside me,

never showing any mercy.

 

 

_____

The poet  tells us:

“The ‘musics’ of Irish and English are different…In Irish you can hear the sea, the mountains,you can hear echoes of loss.  I’m not saying you can’t hear these in English – just that Irish is more musical, less clinical. English has been described by some Irish speakers as the language to sell pigs in – I think that’s too harsh.  I think in the way we speak English in Ireland you can hear the longing for Irish.  Irish is more elemental, earthy, more natural in a way – a language greatly wounded and for that reason maybe closer to the body and emotion – for me as a poet.”

_____

©  Caitríona Ní Chléirchín

Translations from Irish to English:

by the poet herself.

.

Translations from English into Spanish /

Traducciones del inglés al español:

Alexander Best (“Bee”)

Lidia García Garay (“Scything”)

_____


Saint Dallán Forgaill: “Be Thou my Vision” / “Rop tú mo baile”

“Rop tú mo baile”

(Saint Dallán Forgaill, c.530-598)

Rop tú mo baile, a Choimdiu cride:

ní ní nech aile acht Rí secht nime.

Rop tú mo scrútain i l-ló ‘s i n-aidche;

rop tú ad-chëar im chotlud caidche.

Rop tú mo labra, rop tú mo thuicsiu;

rop tussu dam-sa, rob misse duit-siu.

Rop tussu m’athair, rob mé do mac-su;

rop tussu lem-sa, rob misse lat-su.

Rop tú mo chathscíath, rop tú mo chlaideb;

rop tussu m’ordan, rop tussu m’airer.

Rop tú mo dítiu, rop tú mo daingen;

rop tú nom-thocba i n-áentaid n-aingel.

Rop tú cech maithius dom churp, dom anmain;

rop tú mo flaithius i n-nim ‘s i talmain.

Rop tussu t’ áenur sainserc mo chride;

ní rop nech aile acht Airdrí nime.

Co talla forum, ré n-dul it láma,

mo chuit, mo chotlud, ar méit do gráda.

Rop tussu t’ áenur m’ urrann úais amra:

ní chuinngim daíne ná maíne marba.

Rop amlaid dínsiur cech sel, cech sáegul,

mar marb oc brénad, ar t’ fégad t’ áenur.

Do serc im anmain, do grád im chride,

tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime.

Tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime,

do serc im anmain, do grád im chride.

Go Ríg na n-uile rís íar m-búaid léire;

ro béo i flaith nime i n-gile gréine

A Athair inmain, cluinte mo núall-sa:

mithig (mo-núarán!) lasin trúagán trúag-sa.

A Chríst mo chride, cip ed dom-aire,

a Flaith na n-uile, rop tú mo baile.

_____

“Be thou my vision”

Hymn verses

set to the Irish folktune ‘Slane’, English lyrics by

Eleanor Hull (1912), based on Saint Dállan’s poem,

“Rop tú mo baile”

* * *

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,

naught be all else to me, save that thou art;

Thou my best thought by day or by night,

Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

*

Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word,

I ever with thee and thou with me Lord;

Thou my great Father, I thy true son;

Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

*

Be thou my breastplate, sword for the fight;

Be thou my dignity, thou my delight;

Thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower:

Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

*

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise:

Thou mine inheritance now and always;

Thou and thou only –  first in my heart;

High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.

*

High King of Heaven, my victory won,

May I reach Heaven’s joys, O Bright Heaven’s sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,

Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

* * *