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An Paróiste Míorúilteach

O'Brien Press are about to publish An Paróiste Míorúilteach/The Miraculous Parish, a dual-language selection of Máire Mhac an tSaoi's poems edited by Louis de Paor, with translations by myself, Celia de Fréine, Louis de Paor, Gabriel Fitzmaurice, James Gleasure, Aidan Higgins, Valentine Iremonger, Biddy Jenkinson, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Eiléan Ní Chuileannáin and Douglas Sealy. It comes with an illuminating introduction by Louis de Paor. Here's a taster, first the original, then my own translation.

Cian á thógaint díom

Do mheabhair is mó anois a bhraithim uaim –
Ní cuí dhom feasta cumann rúin an tsúsa –
Cleamhnas na hintinne, ná téann i ndísc,
A d’fhág an t-éasc im lár, an créacht ná dúnann.

An mó de bhlianaibh scartha dhúinn go beacht
Roimh lasadh im cheann don láchtaint seo taibhríodh dom?
Téann díom, ach staonfad fós den gcomhaireamh seasc,
Altaím an uain is ní cheistím an faoiseamh.

Milse ár gcomhluadair d’fhill orm trém néall,
Cling do chuileachtan leanann tréis na físe,
Do leath ár sonas tharainn mar an t-aer.
Bheith beo in éineacht, fiú gan cnaipe ’scaoileadh.

Do cheannfhionn dílis seirgthe i gcré
An t-éitheach; is an fíor? An aisling ghlé.

Sorrow lifts from me

More than anything, it’s your mind I feel the loss of now.
The love between the sheets has had its day
But the bond of mind, which never fades
Is what tears me, is the wound that never heals.

How many years exactly since we parted
Before this brightening kindled like a waking dream?
I can’t remember, and will not count them, but
Give thanks for the moment and not question its peace.

The sweetness of our company came back to me in the 
The chime of your pleasure still sounds in the room,
Our joy spread round us like the air.
Even if no button is undone, just to be alive together.

This is the lie: your fair head withered in clay.
And the truth? The clear vision in the brightening day.


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Ab joi et ab joven m’apais

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