Sop Préacháin [A Crow's Wisp]

Translated by David Wheatley

Do Keara [For Keara]

stuaim

Ba cheart bhur gcur ó aithne,
tá an tír róbheag, teanga
níos stuama a chleachtadh
nó seasamh siar ón tús.

Ach anois thar aon am eile,
níl teacht ná dul ón tosach.
Ag cóisir daoibh in íoslach tí,
thug tú úll dó in áit osclóra.

Bíonn dúil agus dúil ann,
a shonc féin, ba mheidhreach:
Bíonn diúltú agus diúltú ann — 
No thanks, I’ve read the Bible.


cant

Wipe your memory: the country’s
too small, practice
holding your tongue
or stand back from the thing.

As much as ever now
there’s no getting past how
she slid with aplomb
not a corkscrew but an apple into his palm.

There’s come-ons, and come-ons and then some.
His comeback was winsome.
There’s no thanks, and no-thanks-but-frisky—
If that makes me Adam, then you must be ... 






an chéad phlaic

I seile an sciatháin leathair,
tá ceimiceán a choisceann
an fhuil ar théachtadh:
De nádúr an ainmhí é
gur luaithe tál ná téarnamh.


the first mouthful

There’s a chemical
in bats’ saliva that stops
our blood congealing.
The animal in us puts
giving before healing.






an dara plaic

Ba gheall le moladh
an dara priocadh:
gur chaith tú uait
gan chothrom fola

crúbáil na hoíche
faoi sholas obann:
tabhairt na doraidh
go glé, dá dtabharfaí


the second mouthful

Praise be, you thought,
when you gave up the ghost.
But where’s the glory
with no blood lost?

The nails of the night
beneath a bare bulb:
your challenge spotlit.
Now take it up.






an tríú plaic, nó ath-quoof i

Aithníonn sé faoin am seo, an fear i do theannta,
nach ligtear as do cheann iad, na cuimhní cinn
a roinntear,
go mbíodh colúir theachtaireachta aige féin is a athair
is go ndéanaidís blaoscanna uibhe a théamh
chun gob an éin a neartú.
Thug is tugann leat,
an taom a bhuail an buachaill,

é ag fanacht in oirchill is na blaoscáin á róstadh,
gur fhág sé faoin teas rófhada iad—
d’aon turas—a chroí ina bhéal aige—
le teann spóirt, b’fhéidir, féachaint,
dá ainneoin féin, mar a bheadh acu

dá bpléascadh blaosc san oigheann air.


the third mouthful (quoof: slight return i)

Pillow-talker, as you’d
be the first to admit, a cat let out
of the bag won’t go back in.
Now she’s up to speed on how
you and your dad used eggshells
to harden the beaks
of your pigeons, nodding
off over them, billing and cooing,

waiting for the shells to roast.
Once you left them under
the heat on purpose,
for devilment maybe—come on,
come on—curious what might happen

if left in too long.






an ceathrú plaic nó ath-quoof ii

Aithníodh sé thairis—
leathchéile na cuilte,
nach slogadh gan chogaint í,
an chuimhne cinn leathoilte.

Súil siar is túisce
a bhuaileann an sprioc:
an buachaill nach gcodlaíodh
nuair ba thrúig oilc an tost.

Níorbh fhéidir a shuaimhniú
go gcloiseadh fead na traenach:
má bhí tiománaí ina dhúiseacht,
ní raibh sé ina aonar.


the fourth mouthful (quoof: slight return ii)

Something else to chew on
besides the tales he’s spun:
he should recognize, no
matter where, his duvet twin.

For the boy keeping watch
when sleep would be nobler,
the place to look
may be over his shoulder.

Who can’t rest until
the train whistle blows:
if the driver is out there
he can’t be alone.






iarfhocal

Bhí a fhios aici, an bhean sin,
nárbh ionann súil is éisteacht.
Is d’admhódh de chogar claon
gur fhadaigh tost an béaldath.

Sop préacháin a deirtí
le bean a chaitheadh fear uaidh,
píosa tuí a d’ardaigh an ghaoth
nuair nár oir go beacht don éinín.


afterword

Well she knew that holding
an eye isn’t having an ear;
and beyond that she knew
how silence improves lipstick.

A woman a man drops
is called a crow’s wisp:
something the wind takes
when a bird lets it slip.

Translated from the Irish