Deirtí an seanadhream go bhfuil
cumhacht mhillteach i milbhear,
ní hamháin ó thaobh a nimhe
a chuireann clabhsúr le saol
chomh prap lena dhúnfá doras,
ach ó thaobh asarlaíochta leis
is lus mallaithe cealgrúnach é.

Bhíodh scáthalach ar dhaoine
an milbhear úd a stoitheadh
’gus nuair a bhíodh sé uathu
ceanglaítí na mná feasa
an gas le heireaball madra
le ruainseachán nó córda
is chuirtí é chun siúlta.

An gadhar fé ndear an stoite
is air siúd a thit an drochrath.

 


Blame

The old people used to say
That there is terrible power in hemlock,
Not just the poison
That could shut a life down fast
As you might slam a door,
But also its influence,
The malign force of the root.

They used to shrink from
Cutting the dark herb
So when the wise women needed it,
They tied the hemlock’s branch
With cord or hair
To a dog’s tail
And set him to it.

It was the dog who had done the plucking
and he who would take what was coming.

– Translated from the Irish by Fintan O’Higgins