Filleadh ón Antartach [Return from Antarctica]

Cloiseann sé fós é:
díoscán an oighir,
tormáil i bhfad uaidh,
ciúnas an tsneachta.

Is cuimhin leis go fóill
an t-aer úr a shlogadh,
an dá scamhóg aige glanta,
fuacht naofa ag beannú a chnis.

Thug sé grá a chroí
don ghoimh gheal,
don díseart tostach
don tírdhreach glan.

Ach b’éigean dó filleadh ar an taiseacht
is ar an mbaile.
Bhí air cúl a thabhairt
don mbáine.

Is iomaí oíche
a iarrann a bhean air go caoin
an chistin a fhágaint
is dul léi a luí.

Is aoibhinn leis
uaigneas an tsileáin ón sconna.
Is ceol aige
srannán an reoiteora:

Nótaí doimhne
á seimint go mall,
Gliúscáil ochlánach
a labhair le gach ball dá bheo.







He can still hear it:
the glaciers rasping,
their ratcheting in the distance,
the snow-quiet.

And still he remembers
gulping unsullied freshness
to clarify his lungs,
the holy coldness blessing his skin.

He gave his heart
to that stinging brightness,
that taciturn redoubt,
that uncluttered country.

But no choice except a return
to dampness and home.
He had to turn
his back on blankness.

On so many nights
his wife asks him tentatively
to abandon the kitchen
and join her upstairs.

He loves the irregular loneliness
of each tap-drip
and it’s music to him
the refrigerator’s drone:

basso profundo
slow in the recital,
grinding sighs that call out
to his being’s every melting element.

Translated from the Irish

More Poems by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh