Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NUALA NI DHOMHNAILL ~









Carnival


1


When you rise in the morning
and pour into me
an unearthly music
rings in my ears.
A ray of sunshine comes
slender and spare
down the dark passageway
and through the gap

in the lintel
to trace a light-scroll
on the mud floor
in the nethermost
sealed chamber.
Then it swells
and swells until a golden glow
fills the entire oratory.

From now on
the nights will be getting shorter
and the days longer and longer.


2


When I open my eyes
to come up for air
the sky
is blue.
A single bird sings
in a tree.
And though the tension
is released
and the chill
gone from the air
and a honeyed breath spreads
like frankencense
about the earth
such is the depth of emotion
we share
that neither of us speaks
as much as a word
for ages and ages.


3


If we were gods
here at Newgrange —
you Sualtam or the Daghda,
myself the famous river —

we could freeze the sun
and the moon
for a year and a day
to perpetuate the pleasure
we have together.

Alas, it's far from gods
we are, but bare, forked creatures.
The heavenly bodies stop
only for a single, transitory moment.


4


A rose opens in my heart.
A cuckoo sings in my throat.
A fledgeling leaps from my nest.
A dolphin plunges through my deepest thoughts.


5


I straighten the bed
for you, sweetheart:
I cannot tell
you and my husband apart.

There are daisies strewn
on the pillow and bolster:
the sheets are embroidered
with blackberry-clusters.


6


I lay down three robes before you:
a mantle of tears,
a coat of sweat,
a gown of blood.


7


You are a knife through my heart.
You are a briar in my fist.
You are a bit of grit between my teeth.


8


I dreamt of you again last night:
we were walking hand in hand through the countryside
when you suddenly ambushed
me and gave me a lovebite on my chest.


9


I spent all last night
driving down the byroads of your parish
in an open sports car
without you near me.
I went past your house
and glimpsed your wife
in the kitchen.
I recognise the chapel
at which you worship.


10


You won't hear a cheep from me.
The cat has got my tongue.
My hands do all the talking.
They're a swimming cap about your head
to protect you from the icy currents.
They're butterflies searching for sustenance
over your body's meadow.


11


When I left you
at the quay tonight
an enormous trench opened up
in my core
so profound
it would not be filled
even if you were to pour
from one utensil
the streams of the Mull of Kintyre
and the Irish Sea and the English Channel.



_______________________

from The Astrakhan Cloak
Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill

translated from the Irish by
Paul Muldoon
(Wake Forest 1993)









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