Friday Sep 22

ODuillGreagoirGréagóir Ó Dúill was born in Dublin, grew up in Whitehead, Co. Antrim and now divides his time between Dublin and Gort a’ Choirce, Co. Donegal. Eight collections in Irish published by Coiscéim were followed by his selected poems, Rogha Dánta 1965-2001 (Cois Life/ Coiscéim, 2001) and selections from them are self-translated into English in Traverse (Lapwing, 1998) and by Bernie Kenny in Gone to Earth (Black Mountain Press, 2005).  His influential anthology Filíocht Uladh 1960 – 1985 (Coiscéim, 1986) drew attention to the recent northern poetry in Irish, and his end of century anthology Fearann Pinn 1900-1999 (Coiscéim 2001, second edition 2008) is in use as a university textbook.  He has also written a collection of short stories, Mar Atá (Coiscéim 1996) and a literary biography of nineteenth century Ulster poet and translator Samuel Ferguson, beatha agus saothar (An Clóchomhar, 1993). His first collection of original English poetry, New Room  Windows, was published by Doghouse of Tralee in 2008.  He continues to publish in Irish and has been appointed a director of the magazine Comhar, of which he has previously been literary editor.  His translations from the Scottish Gaelic of Crisdean MacIllebháin were published in a face to face edition, Dealbh Athar, by Coiscéim in 2009 and were followed by another collection in Irish, Dán Nollag faoin Samhradh, which took the prize for best collection in the Oireachtas, 2010.   A new selected verse is in course of preparation.
---------



Eitilt



Is den chré sinn, chun ithreach a fhillimid.
Suíonn corp agus céadfaí le leacht, snámhann ar uisce.
Titeann an t-úll i gcónaí faoi mheáchan an aeir, faoi tharraingt na cruinne.
Dúil againn san eitilt ariamh, sciatháin ainglí
A thugann tearmann don leanbh, don easlán,
Agus freagra ar ghuí.

Céad bliain anois ag an eitilt, ag innealtóireacht an aeir
Agus is mór faoi seo ár nduais:   toitíní á reic mórdhíola ar deich míle méadar
Mionchleití beaga cuimire ag bun móreití chun caitheamh breosla a ghearradh,
Teicheadh ón gheimhreadh chuig Gran Canaria, sine ar chuar an Atlantaigh faoi mhuislín scamaill,
Feabhas anmhór ar delivery systems agus ar drones.

Suíonn Concorde ar thalamh CDG T1, éadan álainn le Meiriceá,
Gob in airde, eireaball in ísle, a sciatháin
Ghrástúla ina gcúirtéis rinceora, nó mar éan suirí,
Suíonn feistithe ar chosa buana nach féidir a aistarraingt.
Tá an eitilt sa mhiotal, crut na heitilte sa dearadh
Ach níor fhreagair sí don tsaol seo Ryanair.
Dakota agus coisithe a bhuaigh an cogadh mór.



Flight


Clay we are and unto clay return.
Flesh and emotion, water-based
Swim.   Apples fall under the weight of air, the world’s attraction.
We sought always to fly, saw angel wings
Give refuge to a child, to the dying, give answer
To hopeless prayer.

Flight has gone on now a century, heavy engineering
And we have gained much.   At ten thousand metres
Cigarettes are wholesale, winglets grace the wings
To increase lift;  we flee the winter to Gran Canaria, see
The nipple on the north Atlantic’s breast erect in cloudy muslin.
We are skilled now at delivery systems, at drones.

Concorde at Paris is grounded at CDG T1, face out to America,
Beak up, tail down, wings spread graceful in dancer’s curtsey,
In bird’s courtship, but bolted to the runway,
Never to fly again.   The flight is in the metal, in design,
But her payload wasn’t fit for Ryanair.   The last world war
Was won by Dakota, by tanktracks, by infantry.



Feileacán


Cuma éiginnte san eitilt dó ar fheileacán daite
An luathshamhraidh;  ó áit go háit go hanamúil a thriall,
Seal gnóthach tapa, seal eile síothmhar sámh, ag diúl,
Ag crú na gréine, i mbun a chodach nó ag déanamh scíthe.
Meallann piotail gheala é, srotha milse aeir, agus gearrann
Sé uileann géar, camadh tobann
Chun freastal ar a dhúil, freagairt ar a dhíth.

Amharc péire díobh ag damhsa, saor ó thalamh,
Níl aon rud géar faoin suirí – grástúlacht is cleasa lúith, bratach
An ghrá ar foluain fiáin saor ach ceangailte le cuaille láidir.
Feithid bheag, an cuaille á tabhairt slán ar aghaidh.   Caitheann
Imeall an aeir eití na bumbóige, sciatháin an fheileacáin
Gur míéifeachtach, mábach, sraoilleach, bocht,
Fulangach le talamh ag fanacht ciúin le fiacail, le gob.



Butterfly


The multicoloured butterfly seems uncertain
As she flies from place to place in early summer,
At times fast, busy, at other times at rest, at suck
On milky sunlight.   She swings to bright petals, to sweet
Aircurrents, tight cornering
To satisfy her appetite, answer to her need.

Watch two dance together, free of the land
And there’s nothing sharp about that courtship:
Graceful athletics, a flag flies free
And wild while tethered to a mast, a small insect
Has its strength in holding pole.   But air’s
Cutting edge wears down the flag,
The wing of heavy bee, of butterfly.
Its own element makes it frayed, ragged, dysfunctional
A poor thing, passive, patient on the ground,
Waiting there for beak, for tooth, for end.



Na Preátaí Dubha


An dubh ar na preátaí, meath thobann,
Gach gas lofa marbh, ag luascadh le gaoith nó briste ina luí.
Ní heol cén dóigh ar an tiúbar gheal faoin chré
Leis an dubhchan, ach ní habhlann bheatha é.

Ba é scread na Bealtaine de dhoineann fhuar antráthach,
Ba é an bolcán sin san Íoslainn, nó toit na dtinte fá chnoic
Bá é cuairt Obama ar an tír seo nó Eilíse nó lao órga eile
Chan fheil a fhios: ag na húdair a fhágaim cionroinnt chúise

Ach feicim seo, duillí agus torthaí na gcrann dubh creapálta,
Gas is fás na mbarraí ó mhaith.
Tá an t-aos óg ag réiteach don imeacht,
Muide atá i meán ár laethe, ag cuartach sna cófraí,
Sna reiligí réabtha.



Potato blight



Blight on the potato, a sudden withering,
Every stalk rotten, dead, swaying in the wind
Or lying broken.   No telling how’s the tuber
Underground, is it slime:  but no healthy food, that’s sure.

Was it the May scream of winter blast in early summer,
Was it that volcano in Iceland or the pall of smoke in gorsefires,
Was it the visit of Obama or Elizabeth or some other golden calf –
Let the authorities work out the cause, I don’t know.

But I see this, leaves and fruit crippled, black,
Stalks and growth all withered.
The young make plans to emigrate as we,
In middle years, search empty cupboards,
Ruined cemeteries.



Gleann Bheatha


Gleann chúng, an chuach ag glaoch
anall ón doire bheag ag bun na haille
macalla ag cur siolla lena ceol,
cú ach cú, cú ach cú.

Gleann chúng, nead an iolair thall,
a gearrcaigh fiáinte ag cur cosc orm theacht ina n-aice
mura mbí coinín agam dóibh, nó feoil shilteach éigin:
ní mín a gcaint, an t-aos óg seo, an gob craosach, fuilteach, borb.

Gleann chúng, mé ag éisteacht amach do ghlóraíl earraigh fia,
do bhualadh adharc comhraic, satailt na drúise.
Ní chluinim ach callán slabhrsá an chomhraic shíoraí
In éadan rhododendron thiarnaí na plandála.



Glenveagh national park


Narrow valley: cuckoo calls
From a small oakgrove over at the cliff-foot
So echo adds a syllable to her call,
Cuckoocuck, cuckoocuck.

Narrow valley, eagle nest high on far side,
Her wild brood forbids passage.   I lack
A rabbit for them, some dripping flesh, and they have no small talk
In their hungry beaks, their bloody tongues, staring eyes.

Narrow valley, I listen for the rutting call of stags,
The clash of antlers, stamping lust, but hear
Only the noise of ceaseless chainsaws, battling
The landlords’ planting, invasive rhododendron.