Brollach

Dhá thaibhreamh
Roimh chur chun farraige—
Bloc gallúnaí a d’fhás is a d’fhás
Faoi mo charball.
Leis sin féin, an dara mír—
Doirseoir óstáin ag láimhseáil pinn.
Leaba is bia gan iarraidh fós,
Bhris sé ubh de bharr mo chinn.
Chuireas an seomra in áirithe, air sin
Is suas liom an staighre in airde:
Gúna dúnadh thiar,
Folt dorcha, gealacán is buí.

 

Teacht Isteach

(I)

Déanann siad—na daoine—
Dealbha as laibhe an tsléibhe.
De bharr an teasa ina gcré,
Ní fiú faic a saothar.
Súil ná béal, ní mhaisíonn
A dtairiscintí dearga,
Ach dhá chíoch ar bhean
Is ar an bhfear, ball fearga.
Ní ciotach ann mé a thuilleadh,
Nuair a thugaim dá n-earraí diúltú—
Lámha riastacha an oileáin,
Ní féidir iad a chúiteamh.

 

An Chéad Fhear

(II)

Giolla ospidéil ab ea fear amháin
Go ndeachaigh sé i mblianta—
Gan tógáil othair ann níos mó
Is lomairt na leapa á gciapadh.
Siúlann sé is siúlann leis,
Gan neach ar cheachtar taobh de,
Scaipeann samhnas béil na hoíche,
Gáire calcaithe na teilifíse.
Ach fiafraigh fios an bhealaigh de,
Labhróidh glór dorchla lán cruinnis
Éide chruthanta arís é—
Is é an post an duine.


Excerpt from Journey to the Volcano

Introduction

Two dreams
before setting out on my journey—
a block of soap which grew and grew
Beneath the roof of my mouth.
Then the second scene—
a hotel porter behind a desk,
Neither bed nor board booked,
he cracks an egg over my head.
I make my reservation,
And climb the staircase:
a dress that fastens at the back,
dark hair, egg white and yolk.

 

First Days

(I)

And they, the natives, mold
figurines from mountain lava.
But since the clay’s too hot,
Their work lacks refinement.
Eyes, or a mouth, don’t enhance
their molten red statues,
but two breasts on the female
and on the male, a penis.
I am not awkward anymore
when I refuse their wares—
those raw hands of the island,
that will never be repaid.

 

The First Man

(II)

This man here was once an orderly
until he got too old himself,
He couldn’t turn the bedsore
Patients, or tend to their aches.
He walks and walks, with no one there,
on either side of him. By now, he’s cast
Off some of the night-time sickness—
the petrified laughter of televisions.
But stop and ask him for directions,
he’ll answer in a corridor voice.
He’s back in uniform again—
A person is his role.

 

–Translated by Denise Blake