Words for Wednesday

Tivetshall_St._Mary_church_ruin_2_-_geograph.org.uk_-_741711

The Ruins of Timoleague Abbey

TRANSLATED BY TONY HOAGLAND AND MARTIN SHAW
I am gut sad.
I am flirting
with the green waves,
wandering the sand,
feeding reflection
into the seaweed foam.
That Shaker’s moon
is up.
Crested by corn-colored stars
and traced by those witchy scribblers
who read the bone-smoke.
No wind at all —
no flutter
for foxglove or elm.
There is a church door.
In the time
when the people
of  my hut lived,
there was eating and thinking
dished out to the poor
and the soul-sick in this place.
I am in my remembering.
By the frame of  the door
is a crooked black bench.
It is oily with history
of the rumps of sages,
and the foot-sore
who lingered in the storm.
I am bent with weeping.
This blue dream
chucks the salt
from me.
I remember
the walls god-bright
with the king’s theology,
the slow chorus
of  the low bell,
the full hymn
of  the byre and field.
Pathetic hut.
Rain-cracked and wind-straddled.
Your walls bare-nubbed
by chill flagons
of ocean spit.
The saints are scattered.
The high gable
is an ivy tangle.
The stink of fox
is the only swinging incense.
There is no stew
for this arriving prodigal,
no candled bed.
My kin
lie under the ground
of this place.
My shape
is sloughed with grief.
No more red tree
between my thighs.
My eyes are milk.
Rage my pony.
My face has earnt
the grim mask.
My heart a husky gore.
But my hand. My hand
reaches through this sour air
and touches
the splendid darkness
of my deliverer.
Picture found here.

4 responses to “Words for Wednesday

  1. This is a complete wow and I am wondering where you sourced it. I want to read more of this poet.

  2. Reblogged this on Sojourning Smith and commented:
    Every once in a while someone blogs or points me in the direction of a new poet. This is a translation from the Irish into English and is so dense it will offer new nuances with each new reading. The poet is long dead, but though he lived in the 19th century, this poem offers a rich reading from our place in the 21st century.

  3. Thank you for the intro to this fine natural poet, Bee. What a beautiful discovery! This poem a keeper. Shall find out what else these two translators have done with the writings of Seán Ó Coileáin. Wanting more, I did some quick searching and found his story mentioned with another bit of his poetry in translation, using the anglicisation of his name to John Collins (argghh!), here:
    https://durrushistory.com/2013/12/21/sean-o-coileain-john-collins-1754-1816-poet-of-carbery-co-cork/

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