Nell crane, m’ainmse,
an t-aon rud nár athraigh
ó bhuail mé liom féin i súil tairbh.
Bhí mo dhroim le falla agam
mar rialaíonn an cruinne seo falla amháin do lucht na teipe.
Sea, mo dhroim le falla is mé ag cuimhneamh
ar na fir nár spéis leo riamh mé—
is na mná sásta go raibh an iomaíocht laghdaithe,
mar aon leis an stair a ghabh tharam ar chapall,
an chinniúint ar traein,
an t-ádh i Maserati
agus an future nar tháinig riamh.
Sea, mo dhroim le falla
ach domsa stad an saol de bheith am chrá
an lá a ghabhas an cóngar tré ghort Shanahan
is gan mé ach tríocha is a trí
agus gach bliain díobh díolta go maith as
ach nuair a thosaigh an talamh ar crith im dhiaidh,
thuigeas go raibh compánach agam
is ansan an bhúir, íseal, leathan, ón saol eile
sin an uair a thuig mé nár bhaol dom.
Agus ansan a anáil the ar m’ioscaidí arís is arís
Is níor ritheas mar cé rithfeadh ó leannán?

Ó rugadh mé níor dhein éinne mé a chosaint go dtí anois
Ach anois bhí fáinne práis im shrón agam
Is mé ag séideadh anála fén saol.
Sea, bhíos tréis casadh orm féin don gcéad uair
agus b’fhiú an aithne.
Shéid sé anáil arís, níos teo
agus an bhúir ní ba dhoimhne.
Rithfeadh an focal grámhar leat
agus b’shin mar a bhí, an bheirt againn ag tógaint an chóngair—
mise i gcoiscéimeanna, eisean ag tuargaint an talaimh
is mo bharraicíní ag síneadh is ag crapadh.

Nuair a léimeas thar díog Shanahan,
d’fhéach mé air don gcéad uair agus bhí cuma chrosta air
ach crostacht don saol ab ea é agus é tuillte acu.
Bhí iarracht de lán orm
mar b’é seo tús le laochas.
D’fhéachas níos doimhne ina shúile órga
agus láithreach thuig mé go bhfuil an saol ar fad ceapaithe
agus gach rud socair ann—fiú amháin Nell Crane—
Bhí sé chomh soiléir le clog glé an tsléibhe
a rá liom gur liom an saol chomh maith le cách.

Na laethe seo nuair a bhím in aice móinéir
cuimhním ar mo thairbhín is é go glúin i mblátha samhraidh
agus solas ón saol eile ag briseadh tréna shúilibh
agus tuigim gur i súil tairbh
a cheileann an Nádúr
ár ndaonnacht.


The Release of Nell Crane

My name is Nell crane, the only thing that hasn’t changed
since I first met myself
in the eye of a bull.
I had a wall to lean on
for this universe ordains that all failures are given a wall.
so, I leaned and the more I leaned,
the more wall-like I became
and transparent so they can look through you
and the women glad of one less in the field—
as was history that passed by on a horse, destiny in a train,
fate in a Maserati,
and the future never came.
So, I leaned.
But for me the wall vanished
the day I took the shortcut
across Shanahan’s field
and me just thirty-three
and each year dearly paid for.
But when the ground behind me
began to shake,
I knew I had a guest.
and when the bellow lowed
as if from another world,
that’s when I knew there was no need for fear,
then the hot breath
all over the backs of my knees, again and again.
The first time no one saw me, the second time I didn’t care,
I did not run—
who runs from a lover?

I had never before felt protected: now I had a brass ring in my nose
And I snorted steam at the world.
I became me for the first time.
he blew breath again and it was great
after thirty years of the wall.
and the bellows became more intimate
and each bellow meant for me
and there we were crossing the field together,
I mincing, he shaking the earth
and my toes open and shut.

I leaped across Shanahan’s dyke
and I turned for the first time. He looked cross but that was a crossness
for a world that deserved it.
I looked deep into his golden eyes
and suddenly I knew that all that is
was meant to be,
including Nell Crane.
It had the clarity of a mountain bell
that rang all the way across my awakening world
showing me what was mine at last.

These days when I pass a meadow,
I picture him standing knee-deep in summer flowers,
His eyes calm and commanding
for it is in the eye of a bull
that Nature hides our humanity.

–Translated from the Irish by Seán MacMathúna