11 April 2006

A Gift (for those of you who haven't met Nuala)

It's spring, and it's nearly the full moon, and I'm reminded tonight of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. I'll give you "Geasa" later -- I don't like McGuckian's translation, found on the link above -- but that site does give Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin's excellent translation of "Madame":

Lady under the lake
Your bright rooms
Where they are killing bullocks
And sheep are turning on spits,

Your whitewashed courts
On islands near the coast
Or touching the horizon
Have been seducing me

Ever since I was a child.
Your dwelling is no
Tree-house, woven shelter
But a hall to feast in.

The door is twenty
Feet wide, the roof
Made of birds’ feathers
Red and blue

No need here to shut
Windows or doors —
It makes no odds, the water
Enters everywhere.

And I am guiding
My mother towards you
Across a bridge of glass,
With careful steps

A tentative foot forward,
But we are arriving.
In the doorway of your sunny chamber
A cold sweat comes over me

On the doorstep,
At the revolving door
Turning widdershins,

For the one that mounts
Your stone staircase
Will never be
Seen again.

Ní Dhomhnaill's worth learning Irish for. Yay, the priestess poets.


Anonymous said...

THANKYOU pandora from panther

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you! I hadn't met Nuala and I'm so moved by her work. Truly a gift! Sage

michelle said...

I love Nuala and in fact, spent a lot of time in undergrad working on research that involved her writing. Thanks for posting this.