It's just poetry, it won't bite

An tAmhránaí/The Singer


09.23.09 Posted in words to linger on by

It is an extraordinary honor to inaugurate this page with the art of Manny Beltran and the poetry of Dr. Louis de Paor!

Dr. de Paor is the Director of the Centre for Irish Studies at National University of Ireland, Galway. He is an acclaimed poet whose work has won many awards. He is the first Irish language poet to win the O’Shaughnessy Award. Not only does he possess a brilliant gift for poetic expression in two languages, he is also possessed of a most enviable head of copper-gold hair. In this age of technological wonders, Dr. de Paor’s books are available online, and his collaborative work with musician John Spillane on The Gaelic Hit Factory can be experienced online in all its seductive glory.

This poem, written and presented in Irish and English, washes over the reader and carries him away on waves of language and story as gentle as summer and as powerful as the undertow. Read it here in both languages (of course you can’t read Irish, no one expects you to, but read this as it is and lose your way among the tongue) and listen to it when you get a chance.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr. Louis de Paor, for allowing this use of your exquisite poem.

An tAmhránaí

Is dóigh leis an mbeirt os mo chomhair gur leosan amháin a labhrann

nuair a chanann a gholtraí ghrámhar is fada le barra a méar

go mbeidh siad sa bhaile is cead seanma ar a chéile acu go maidin.

Is ait le haonaráin is iarleannáin go mbeadh fonn briste a gcroíthe ar bharr

a theanga ag fear nár casadh orthu cheana. Nuair a bhuaileann na sreanganna síoda

a cheangail dá chéile an chéad lá riamh iad, druideann an lánúin phósta dá mbuíochas

i leith a chéile. Nuair a chuimlíonn uillinn a léine sin le gualainn a mhná, baineann

fear óg ar thaobh eile an tseomra a gheansaí samhraidh de is iarrann

ar fhear an tí an teas a ísliú in ainm dílis Dé. Guíonn an cailín a bhfuil áilleacht

an bhróin ina gnúis go mbeidh sé gan chéile nó go bhfaighidh sé í. Tá an oíche á reabadh

ag foireann na gclog: scuaine scuadcharr, otharcharr is inneall dóiteáin ar a gcoimeád

ón tine nach féidir a mhúchadh i gcuislí dóite na bhfear mór laistigh

atá mall chun na sochraide arís. In aice an droichid, tá nodaireacht an uaignis

ar chuilithíní an aeir os a chionn léite go cruinn ag an bhfear atá díreach tar éis léimt.

Tá an t-uisce chomh mín le bráillín, is tonn álainn an cheoil ina bhéa

á bhodhradh ar bhuaireamh an tsaoil. Leanann an ceoltóir ag seinm

ar na sreanganna fola a shíneann ón gcroí go dtí béal a ghiotáir. Tá a chaoineadh

chomh séimh le pluid na habhann á tarraingt os ár gcionn go léir.

The Singer

These two here in front of me think he’s singing to only them

when he plays a loving lament, their fingers ache to be home

where they can play on each other till morning. The lonely

and the old flames are amazed a man they’ve never met

has the broken tunes of their dreams off by heart on the tip of his tongue.

When he touches the strings that tied them together the first time

ever, the married couple in the corner move closer in spite of themselves.

When the sleeve of the man’s shirt brushes his wife’s shoulder, a young fella

at the other end of the room takes off his summer jumper and asks the barman

to turn the heat down for God Almighty’s sake. The girl made lovely by sorrow prays

he’ll never rest until he finds her. Outside, a fleet of sirens storms the night,

squadcars, ambulances and fire-brigades running from the fire that can’t be put out

in the smouldering hearts of the men inside who are late again for the neverending funeral.

Beside the bridge, the morse code of loneliness broadcast on flurries

of air is clear as day to the man who has just jumped. The water is smooth

as a sheet and he is deaf to the world as the music fills his mouth,

washing away a world of worries. The singer keeps on strumming

the strings that stretch from the heart to the mouth of his guitar.

His cry is soft as the river, a blanket of water drawn up over all our sleepy heads.


 

 



One Response to “An tAmhránaí/The Singer”

  1. bobbie troy says:

    Wow, great pairing of art and poetry. I love it.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,942 other subscribers

Latest Podcast Episode
0:00
0:00
vox poetica archives
%d bloggers like this: