Celebrate Poetry Day Ireland 2023 in DCU

Lá Éigse Éireann: Teachtaireachtaí i mBuidéil - celebrate Poetry Day Ireland with us on Thursday 27 April 2023 in DCU. As this year's theme is 'message in a bottle' we'll be giving DCU staff and students the chance to receive their very own poetic message in a bottle. Curated by Aifric Mac Aodha, DCU's Irish Language Writer-in-Residence in collaboration with DCU's Cultural Arts Office and DCU Library.
Shows four glass bottles with flowers on them and containing rolls of paper sitting in water. One of the labels on the bottles reads léitear mé.

Poetry Day Ireland message in a bottle in DCU Pic: Kyran O'Brien

A limited number of these bottles will be distributed in Cregan Library on the St Patrick's campus and beside the coffee doc outside the U building on the Glasnevin campus on Thursday morning (27th April). 

 

The bottles contain extracts from Irish language poems selected by Aifric Mac Aodha, DCU's Irish Language Writer in Residence. See the full text of the poems along with their translations below.

 

Poetry Day Ireland 2023, an initiative of Poetry Ireland, is an island-wide celebration of poetry. On the 27th April each year you are invited to read, write or share a poem. 

 

Poetry Day Ireland 2023 curator Martina Evans explains this year's 'message in a bottle' theme:

No poem is an island, it needs a reader to complete the process. Poems are waiting for the reader to uncork the bottle and rediscover the poem, experience that intimate connection across oceans real and metaphorical. 

 

Today we're inviting you to join in the celebrations by discovering the beauty, humour and mystery contained in these six Irish language poems. Click on the images below to read the featured poem in Irish or in its English translation.

 

Shows a fish swimming
Do Chara Liom le Máirtín Coilféir

‘Do Chara Liom’ by Máirtín Coilféir from Calling Cards (2018) is reproduced by kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press.

Do Chara Liom

Cibé cén cian a bhí ag luí orm nó mearaí uaignis,
cheannaigh mé aréir compánach oíche,
fathach d’iasc chomh mór le mangach
a dtugaim Éamonn air.

Cheal umair, cónaíonn sé i gcrúiscín blátha
ar leac an chabhantair
agus coinním caint leis théis
mo chuid ragairne spóirt.

‘Ith do chuid,’ a deirim; ‘Tóg t’aimsir,’ a deirim;
‘Is mór an diabhal thú, a Éamoinn!’ a screadaim,
agus feicim an rógaireacht ina shúile
fhad a ghluaiseann sé tharam.

Ag am soip, iompraím isteach é is leagaim cois leapa é.
Ar mo nós-sa, coinníonn sé leathshúil leis ar oscailt
— ar eagla na heagla —
agus bíonn an bhrionglóid chéanna againn:

I Liatroim atá muid, in éindí, istoíche,
sruthán mear dubh os ár gcomhair
agus seo linn beirt ag eitilt thar bruach isteach;
Slíocann muid an dubhuisce

agus scuabtar muid leis is bailíonn muid luas,
míle muirmhíle in aghaidh an mheandair,
tá muid ag bualadh buillí ar aon uain
i dtreo na bá, na farraige, na bóchna móire

Is nuair a scinneann muid
thar eas agus thar aill amach
ar mhullach Bhinn Éadair
nó cibé cén áit é, nuair a bhíonn muid

ag titim go mall mar an drúcht anuas
is ansin a thriaileann muid an rothalchleas
is na mullaigh ghróigeáin,
an tuirlingt gan cháim, go maidin.

 

 

translated by Paul Muldoon

For a Friend of Mine

Such was the dark mood or stir craziness that hit me last night
I actually went out and bought a soul-companion —
a huge lump of a fish the size of a pollock.
He goes by the name of Eamonn.

Since I don’t have an aquarium, Eamonn lives in a flower-vase
on the kitchen counter
and, after sitting up late drowning my sorrows,
I engage him in a little banter.

‘Hurry up and eat your dinner,’ I say. ‘Take your time,’ I say.
‘Aren’t you the cute hoor,’ I shout,
and I recognize the devilment in his eyes
as he glides about.

When we hit the hay I carry him in and lay him by my side.
Like myself, he sleeps with one eye open
in case of any, you know, eventuality.
We share a dream in which the same things happen:

we’re in Leitrim, the pair of us, in the middle of the night,
beside a dark stream moving in a fierce lather.
We both leap off the bank.
We slip through the surface of the dark water

and are caught up in it, gaining even greater velocity —
a thousand knots per second —
thrashing around as one single being
as we head in the direction of the bay, the sea, the wider ocean.

And when it’s past waterfalls
and cliffs we’ve zoomed
over in the environs of Howth Head, or wherever,
then from the summit

we fall gently as dew
onto the ground
where we have recourse to turning cartwheels and faultless
somersaults till morning itself comes round.

Shows green buds on a tree branch
Doineann le Caitlín Nic Íomhair

‘Doineann’ by Caitlín Nic Íomhair from Calling Cards (2018) is reproduced by kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press.

Doineann

Fágann achan gheimhreadh
a lorg ar mo fhlaithiúlacht.
Sprionlaítear crann m’fhéile,
ídítear solúbthacht mo ghéag.

Éirím seang smolchaite.
Tagaim chuig do dhoras cuachta
faoi leath léinn agus faoi chur
i gcéill an gheimhridh.

Bain díom, a ghrá,
roic mo chuid Béarla ar dtús.
Tochail meirg mo chuid Fraincise
le barr d’ingne go dtite scine

na teanga sin díom.
Fág préachta mé i nglasghléas na Gaeilge.
Dúisigh, corraigh mé, a thaiscidh.
Tá sé in am earraigh.

 

 

translated by Colette Bryce

This Weather

Each winter takes its toll
on my generosity.
The branches of my giving tree
get less inclined to yield.

Sun-starved, half stooped,
I fetch up on your doorstep
with my dubious world-weariness
and all the season’s airs.

Strip from me, dear heart,
the thin veneer of English.
Pick off, with your fingernail,
flakes of rusty French.

Leave me peeled and shivering
with the green buds of Irish.
Rouse me, bring me forth,
my love. It is time for spring.

Shows a woman pictured from the back emerging from water
Bean Róin le Caitríona Ní Chléirchín

‘Bean Róin’ by Caitríona Ní Chléirchín from Calling Cards (2018) is reproduced by kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press.

Bean Róin

In uisce tanaí an chósta
nó i nduibhe na mara,
fanann sí ort, a iascaire —
Tá agat, bean róin,

bean a fhanann ort
is a ghlaonn chugat
is a sceitheann a cóta,
Lá Fhéile San Eoin.

 

 

translated by Peter Fallon

Selkie

At low, low tide
or in the depths of the sea,
she’s waiting for you, fisherman,
and there for you, a selkie.

A woman waiting for you
who is leading you on,
who’ll shed her skin for you
on the Feast of Saint John.

Shows a butterfly on a slice of orange
Grasse Matinée le Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

'Grasse Matinée’ by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh from Calling Cards (2018) is reproduced by kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press.

Grasse Matinée

Íosfaimid oráistí ar ball,
ólfaimid caife te dubh
ach níl aon deabhadh.

Óir is mór an feall
bheith ag brostú,
íosfaimid oráistí ar ball.

Druid liom anall —
ní gá an gríosú —
ach níl aon deabhadh.

Póg mo bhéal go mall,
blais díom, a rún,
íosfaimid oráistí ar ball.

Cuimil do láimh dem chabhail,
tá dúil sa tsúil
ach níl aon deabhadh.

Fan socair, fan teann,
mo ghrá go daingean thú,
íosfaimid oráistí ar ball,
ach níl aon deabhadh.

 

 

Translated by Alan Gillis

Grasse Matinée

Oranges we will soon taste.
We will drink hot black coffee
but there’s no need for haste,

for there is great waste
in hurrying.
Oranges we will soon taste.

We are interlaced —
we are beyond mere play —
but there’s no need for haste.

Slowly kiss my face,
savour me, my love.
Oranges we will soon taste.

Stay your hand on my breast:
there is fire in the eye
but there’s no need for haste.

Stay calm, stay firm,
I love you fit to burst —
oranges we will soon taste
but there’s no need for haste.

Shows a picture of the planet Mars
Aimsir le Simon Ó Faoláin

‘Aimsir’ by Simon Ó Faoláin from Calling Cards (2018) is reproduced by kind permission of the author and The Gallery Press.  

Aimsir

Lá dorcha gránna, bheifeá bailithe;
caipín olla de dhíth sa chistin,
an cat dubh ar chathaoir
bísithe timpeall air féin.
Laistiar díom, corcán prátaí gréine
á mbeiriú dos na cearca.

Fionnachtain fé, chualas ó chianaibh,
reoite tamall im shamhlaíocht:
go mbíonn sneachta á chur ó spéartha Marsa,
go saolaítear é na mílte in airde
is go ndéantar gal dó in athuair
sara sroicheann riamh tonn talún.

Canann lóipíní thar fholús fairsing
is crochann an cat port i gcomhcheol:
ní hann dúinn ár ndán a cheistniú,
ní hann dúinn ach reo agus leá,
reo agus leá go brách na breithe,
ní chuirtear riamh an rua ina gheal.

 

 

Translated by Peter Sirr

The Weather on Mars

A dark, spirit-slumping
woolly-hat-pulled-down-even-inside
kind of day. Beside me
the black cat snores in his chair,
folded in on himself. On the hob
spuds boiling for the hens . . .

Something I heard recently
is lodged in my inner eye:
that snow falls from the skies of Mars,
pouring down from the black depths
only to vaporize
before it could touch the ground.

The snow sings in its great distances
and the cats joins in:
not ours to reason why,
our lot is to freeze and melt,
freeze and melt forever,
the red will never be white.

Shows three ancient Egyptian statues
Seandéithe / ancient gods le Gabriel Rosenstock

Seandéithe / ancient gods

seandéithe, arbh ann dóibh
nó an ag feitheamh lena mbreith
atáid?
 
ancient gods
did they exist?
or are they waiting to be born?