do Keara Killian

Dhá scéal a rachadh faoin gcroí: Echtrae Conlae agus ‘Eveline’ Joyce.
Feic ‘Eveline’, ar dtús: Í suite ag an bhfuinneog agus an tsráid á feistiú le cuimhní cinn a hóige.
Tá cuireadh faighte aici éalú le fear farraige agus is í atá idir dhá chomhairle.
Eveline, ní imeoidh.
Ná bímís soineanta faoin scéal, ach go háirithe: ní haon dualgas iníne a choinníonn siar í ach tarraingt an ghnáthaimh.
Ionann scéal d’Eveline agus do Chonlae (.i. leannán, bád is cuireadh chun imeachta), ach amháin seo—go ngéilleann an t-óglach.
Is é an cathú dochloíte é, a shamhlú conas a bhí aige féin is ag bean a mheallta, ón uair gur chuireadar chun farraige is gur imíodar leo, dá naomhóg ghloine, ghreanta.

Labhraíonn Conlae:
Domsa, níorbh éasca:
Ó thosach go deireadh báid liom,
Ó dheireadh go tosach,
Ba chorrach ar mo dhá chos mé.

Ní cláir adhmaid a bhí fúm,
Ach cláir ghloine:
Ní bean a bhí faram
Ach míle scáil i mo choinne.

Dar liom go raibh an t-uisce féin
Á shiúl agam—
Is níor le háthas é
Ach le teann míshuaimhnis.

Trí aoibhneas a choill sí orm:
Lúth ar thalamh,
Bean gan aithne,
Machaire balbh.


The Adventure of Conlae
for Keara Killian

Two stories unsettle my heart: The Adventure of Conlae and Joyce’s ‘Eveline’.
Take Eveline first, sitting by her window. The street is being drawn in by childhood memories.
She has an offer to escape across the ocean with a sailor but she is caught between the two worlds.
Eveline? She didn’t go.
Let’s not be naïve about it either: she’s is not held there by a daughter’s sense of duty so much as by the appeal of all that’s safe and un-new to her.
Eveline and Conlae have a similar story (a lover, a boat and an invitation to escape), but the difference is—the young man yielded.
The temptation is to try and imagine Conlae with his enchantress from the first moment they took to sea in the strange glass boat.

Conlae Speaks:
For me, it was never painless:
From stern to prow
And back again
My feet gave under me.

I didn’t have wooden boards under me
but a boat made of glass.
I didn’t have a woman beside me
but a thousand shadows on every side.

It felt like I had begun
to walk on water
and it didn’t give me peace
but a strange sense of unease.

She took three things away from me:
the power to move my legs on land,
the allure of an unknown woman,
the stillness of the ground.

– translated by Denise Blake