• A TIME IN HER LIFE

    She was attracted to the land -
    damp though dry - and to the houses
    with their hearths and music,
    though there was music in the sea,
    strength in the waves,
    the coral weed every bit as beautiful
    as the globs of heather
    that sprouted among the rocks,
    or the montbretia that lined the road
    on her way to town.

    The people made her welcome
    and though they knew
    that each time she came ashore
    she hid her cloak
    in a loft or granary
    no one tried to take it from her.
    Each time she stayed,
    she stayed a little longer
    knowing a day would come
    when she'd have to make a choice -

    she could always leave
    as long as she had her mantle.
    And who'd want to destroy a gift?... more »

  • AN TROMLUÍ IS TROIME

    Laethanta áirithe agus do lámh á sá
    isteach sa chófra ar thóir cabáiste
    thagtá ar chloigeann Alfredo Garcia.

    Laethanta eile is tú i mbun dearnála
    mheabhraítí duit duibheagán
    as a bhféadfadh olc an domhain éalú.

    Scaití agus cnaipe an oighinn á chasadh
    chuimhníteá ar na sé mhilliún -
    nocht bearrtha sa chithfholcadh.

    Ach istoíche na cuirtíní tarraingthe
    is an glas ar an doras
    bhraiteá slán, tú féin is do chúram.

    Ba chuma cá mhéad scéal scanrúil
    a shleamhnaíodh isteach id chloigeann
    níor taibhríodh duit an tromluí seo -

    bhí cónaí ort i ndaonlathas,
    tú féin is do chúram, faoi rialtas iontaofa
    a chaomhnaíodh gach saoránach

    i bhfad ó shaotharlanna fhir na seacbhuataisí.... more »

  • BIABHÓG

    Is í bandiabhal mór na foraoise í
    mo thuathmháthair. Seasann sí fiche troigh
    os cionn goirt bhiabhóige, cabáiste Dúitseach.

    Dorcha a haghaidh, níos dorcha ná goirme
    na spéire, áit a ngoileann réaltaí ar aibhneacha,
    ar locha, is ar ghaothscáth mo chairr.

    Mura mbeadh an oiread sin deifre orm,
    dhruidfinn amach ar an ngualainn chrua
    is d'fhanfainn ann go mbainfeadh sí aisti mé.

    D'fhéadfaimis beirt toirc a fhiach san fhoraois
    is istoíche d'fhanfaimis tirim
    faoi chaipíní sonais na nuabheirthe.... more »

  • FAOI CHABÁISTÍ IS RÍONACHA

    In ionad bláthanna a bhronnadh ar a bhean
    agus é i mbun tochmhairc, d'fhrasaigh Risteard
    bronntanais ar a máthair. I dtosach
    tháinig na málaí plaisteacha, ansin na saic,
    iad lán le glasraí a d'fhás sé féin is a athair.
    Leasaithe go nádúrtha. Uiscithe faoi scáth
    na hoíche i rith an triomaigh.
    Turnapaí ar aon mhéid le do chloigeann.
    Prátaí Rí Éadbhard as ar deineadh
    na sceallóga ba shúmhaire. Cabáistí
    sách leathan le ceathrairíní a cheilt.
    Ní raibh bean Risteaird ag súil le ceathrairíní -
    iníon a leanbh sise, í tugtha go mór
    do fhrithbhualadh na glúine, ar nós a máthar.... more »

  • OF CABBAGES AND QUEENS

    Richard did not woo his woman with flowers -
    he lavished gifts on her mother instead.
    At first they arrived in plastic bags, then
    came the sacks, all containing vegetables
    grown by him and his father. Fertilised
    by the real thing. Irrigated under cover
    of dark during the drought. Turnips as big
    as your head. King Edwards that made
    the juiciest chips. Cabbages broad enough
    to conceal quads. Richard's woman was not
    expecting quads - her child was a girl,
    much given to knee-jerks, like her mother.... more »

  • RHUBARB

    My Clan Mother is the great she-devil
    of the forest. She stands twenty feet
    over fields of wild rhubarb, Dutch cabbage.

    Her face is black, blacker than the blue
    of night where stars shed tears into rivers,
    lakes, onto the windscreen of my car.

    If I weren't in such a hurry
    I would pull over, wait for her
    to pluck me from the hard shoulder.

    Together we could hunt boar
    in the forest and at night stay dry
    beneath the cauls of newborn children.... more »

  • SEAL DÁ SAOL

    Bhí sí meallta leis an tír - tais ach tirim -
    is leis na tithe lena dtinteáin is a gceol
    cé go raibh ceol san fharraige
    fuinneamh sna tonnta
    an fheamainn choiréalach inchurtha
    leis na meallta fraoigh
    a bhí ag gobadh amach idir na carraigeacha
    is leis an bhfeileastram dearg
    a d'fhás ar thaobh an bhóthair
    ar a bealach chun an bhaile.

    Chuir na daoine fáilte roimpi
    agus cé go raibh a fhios acu
    gur fholaigh sí a clóca
    i lochta nó i ngráinseach
    gach uair a tháinig sí i dtír
    níor deineadh iarracht é a bhaint di.
    Agus gach uair a tháinig sí
    bhain sí fúithi seal níos faide.
    Bhí a fhios aici go dtiocfadh lá
    a mbeadh uirthi rogha a dhéanamh -

    d'fhéadfadh sí filleadh
    fad is a bhí a fallaing aici.
    Agus cé a bheadh ag iarraidh
    bronntanas a mhilleadh?... more »

  • STÓRTHA ARDA

    Tá áthas ar Aingeal gur chuimhnigh sí ar a lapaí.
    Agus is mór an áis di freisin, a culaith chait dhubh.
    I dtosach bíonn imní uirthi eitilt róghar
    don ghealach ar eagla go ndiúgfaí a cuid fola.
    Is rud amháin é eitilt le linn taibhrimh -
    ar an saol seo is gá iarracht níos déine a dhéanamh.

    Dein dearmad ar mheáchan do choirp,
    a deir sí, léi féin. Sín amach do ghéaga
    ar nós curaidh céad mhéadar snámh brollaigh.
    B'fhéidir gurb é seo an t-aon seans a gheobhas tú.
    Ní theastaíonn uait fás suas i sluma,
    fiche stór in airde. Gan chrainn. Gan jab.

    Le héirí na gréine gabhann thar abhainn,
    is tugann faoi deara dallóga liathdhearga
    ag bolgadh as díonteach. Caith do shúil
    thairis sin, a mholann di féin. Laistigh
    stacaí leabhar, dealbha ón Oirthear.
    Is ón urlár mailpe, croitheann a scáth chuici.... more »

  • TALL STOREYS

    Angela is glad she remembered her flippers.
    And her black catsuit comes in handy.
    At first she is afraid to fly too close
    to the moon in case she bleeds.
    It's one thing flying in dreams.
    In real life it takes a greater effort.

    Ignore the weight of your body,
    she tells herself. Arc your arms like
    a hundred metre breaststroke champion.
    This may be your only chance.
    You don't want to grow up in a slum.
    Twenty storeys high. No trees. No job.

    Dawn breaks as she crosses the river.
    She sees peach curtains billow
    from a nearby penthouse.
    Take a closer look, she urges.
    Inside stacks of books. Oriental sculptures.
    From the maple floor her shadow beckons.... more »

  • THE WORST NIGHTMARE

    There were days when you'd shove
    your hand into a cupboard in search of a cabbage
    and come upon the head of Alfredo Garcia

    others when you'd thread a needle
    and imagine you were darning a hole
    out of which the evil of the world could escape

    and times when you'd press a knob on the oven
    and conjure the six million
    naked, shorn in the shower.

    But at night the curtains drawn,
    the door locked and bolted
    you felt safe, yourself and your care.

    No matter how many horror stories
    you sidled into your mind
    you never imagined this nightmare -

    you lived in a democracy, yourself
    and your care, under an elected government,
    who cherished each citizen

    far from the laboratories of jackbooted men.... more »