• DEIREADH NA LÍNE

    Ní raghaidh sé ort níos mó,
    an gúna scoilte dlúthlecraiceann
    a bheachtaigh, dar leat,
    aistriú do cholainne néata
    go dtí a cló cruinn lánbhaineann;
    ní raghaidh sé ort níos mó.

    Líonann an leoithne a chruth tréigthe
    ar an líne scaoilte lasmuigh,
    aimsíonn cuair agus ingir
    ná baineann led chabhail tréasach níos mó
    ó d'iompaigh isteach is amach id choinne
    nuair a scar mar a bheadh cnáimhín súgach éin
    cuas na gcnámh féd choim.

    Tá sciorta fada fairsing
    ag slaparnach led cholpaí ata
    is giorranáil sa teas neamhchoiteann ort;
    scaoileann tú cnaipe in uachtar do bhlúis
    mar a bheadh béal úr in aice do chín
    ag diúl an mhaith ón aer máguaird,
    ag alpadh do chandam ocsaigine.

    Ólann tú uisce
    amhail is gurb shin é anois
    do dhúil is gur bheag leat
    mil a shú tré phóireanna leata do chnis;
    tá t'aire chomh caol le hinchinn éisc órga
    a dhearmadann iontais a chruinne gloine
    le gach buille dá eireaball.

    Le gach cor de chois is láimh,
    dearmadann tú, is dóigh liom,
    gur ann dom, ag snámh leat
    tré leamhaer na cisteanach
    mar a bheadh bairillí ola
    sa tslí ort. Is an corp mar ghéis
    im cheann dar thug mo chroí

    a ghean síoraí, ní chuirfidh tú
    ort níos mó, aintiarnas mo shúl
    a leag crios caol crua ar do ghéaga móra,
    chomh dlúth le nasc is cuing an phósta,
    ní chuirfidh tú ort arís,
    ní ligfidh tú ort níos mó.... more »

  • DOWN THE LINE

    Down the Line

    In the silence before the train,
    she stands on the unsheltered platform,
    her mind brittle as porcelain,
    nerves tight as a fist.

    In a shoulderbag,
    amongst all her scented things,
    there are memories
    of unclouded summers,
    of nights loud with fairground noise,
    a jukebox throbbing
    its catchcries of love,
    the air heavy with cigarette smoke,
    the smell of oil and sweat,
    freckled weather
    when she walked the prom,
    a tang of seaweed on her skin,
    slim as an hourglass,
    bright as a fallen angel.

    She straightens her back
    and the world moves under her
    as the train grinds its teeth
    and fists its way
    into the station.

    In another town down the line
    there's a man
    who'll comb the grey from her hair,
    who'll keep the heaviness of time
    from her mind, and from her waist,
    a man she's never met
    who'll slow her violent heartbeat.... more »

  • END OF THE LINE

    It won't do you anymore,
    the slit skintight dress
    that measured in your eyes only
    the change in your girlish figure
    to its full womansize,
    it won't do you anymore.

    A light breeze plays with its empty shape
    on the loose clothesline outside,
    finding curves and straight lines
    that have nothing to do
    with your treacherous body
    since it turned insideout against you,
    when the secret hollow under your waist
    split like a wishbone.

    The long dress
    laps at your swollen calves
    and you're short of breath
    in the unusual heat;
    you open the top button of your blouse
    as if there was a mouth at your breast
    sucking the good from the air,
    devouring your share of oxygen.

    You drink water
    as though it's your element
    and you'd think nothing of inhaling honey
    through your wide-open pores;
    your attention is fickle as a goldfish
    as he forgets the wonders of his glazed world
    with every flick of his tail.

    Every time you move,
    you forget, I think, I'm there,
    as you swim through the dull kitchen air
    like there were barrels of oil
    in your way. And that swan-like body
    in my head to which my heart
    gave in forever and a day,

    you won't put it on anymore,
    the tyranny of my eyes
    that held your growing body
    tight as the ties of marriage,
    it won't do you anymore,
    you won't put it on again.... more »

  • GRAMADACH

    Níor tháinig do chaint leat fós,
    ná níl aon chorrabhuais
    ina thaobh san ort.
    Cuireann briathra sna trithí tú,
    is an modh ordaitheach,
    ní mór ná go dtachtann le greann.
    Dúisigh. Codail. Dein. Ná dein. Bí …

    Tá do bhéarlagar féin agat,
    réamhurlabhra a thuigfeadh dúramán
    nó an teangeolaí féin le haimsir.
    Straois. Strainc. Scread.
    Gnúsacht. Meánfach. Tost
    gur léir don uile a bhrí uilíoch.

    Tán tú chun deiridh
    de réir chairteacha na ndochtúirí,
    na saineolaithe linbh leanbaí.
    Ach má thugann tú leat,
    mar is baolach go dtabharfaidh,
    oiread focal is 'tá rialacha graiméar
    i leabharlanna an Ghúim

    ní déarfaidh tú aon ní
    gur fiú aon ní in aon chor é
    thar an méid a d'fhoghlaimís
    in aragal na broinne,
    poncaíocht do gháire droim ar ais,
    díochlaonadh na fearthainne id dheoir.... more »

  • GRAMMAR

    You can't talk yet, and you're not
    too put out about that.
    Words send you into convulsions,
    especially verbs - the Imperative Mood
    is the funniest thing you've ever heard.
    Wake up. Go asleep. Do. Don't. Be.

    You have your own lingo
    any fool could understand,
    even a linguist, given time.
    Grin. Yowl. Gurn.
    Yawn. Grunt. Silence
    that makes perfect
    sense to everyone.

    You're behind schedule
    according to doctors' charts,
    the childish child experts.
    But if you learn, and I'm afraid you will,
    as many words as there are rules of grammar
    in the libraries of An Gúm

    you won't say a blessed thing
    worth anything more
    than what you've already learned
    in the womb's elocution room,
    the punctuation of laughter back to front,
    the declension of rain into tears.... more »

  • HEREDITY

    There's no denying
    the blood that goes through me
    from my mother's side,
    leaving one snarled tooth
    in the roof of my mouth,
    an itching-post in the field
    of my thoughts, an ogham stone
    that shouts me down
    with its unintelligible alphabet.

    I put my swollen thumb
    under the tooth of knowledge,
    and the stone speaks up
    from the underworld of my thoughts:
    You were always a black sheep
    like all belonging to you,
    hard words like grains of sand
    in the corner of an eyelid
    shut tight as an oyster.

    When a blade of light
    prises it open,
    there's a tooth askew
    in my son's mouth.
    It shines like a pearl
    in his perfectly crooked smile.... more »

  • IARNRÓD

    Iarnród

    Sa chiúnas roimh theacht na traenach
    seasann sí ar an ardán lom,
    a meabhair chomh briosc le poirceallán,
    néaróga chomh teann le dorn iata.

    I mála ascaille
    lena giúirléidí cumhra,
    tá cuimhní fada
    ar shamhraití gan scamall,
    oícheanta lán de challán aonaigh,
    de cheolta Wurlitzer
    ag tonnadh manaí grá ar a cluasa,
    an t-aer ramhar le toit,
    le boladh íle is allais,
    aimsir bhreicneach
    nuair a shiúladh sí an tsráid,
    mus feamainne ar a craiceann órtha,
    chomh seang le horláiste,
    chomh drithleach
    le haingeal tite.

    Díríonn sí a drom
    is critheann an domhan féna sála
    nuair a bhrúnn an traein dorn iarainn
    le gíoscán fiacal
    isteach i ngabhal an stáisiúin.

    I mbaile nua fan na slí, tá fear
    a chíorfaidh an liath dá gruaig,
    a choimeádfaidh spadántacht na mblian
    óna meabhair is óna com,
    fear eile fós a chiúineoidh
    greadadh glórach a croí.... more »

  • OIDHREACHT

    Ní féidir é a bhogadh,
    an braon fola a doirteadh
    ó thaobh mo mháthar ionam,
    a d'fhág starrfhiacail chlaon
    im charball uachtair,
    bollán tochais i ngort
    mo mharana, oghamchloch
    a bhodhraíonn m'aigne
    lena haibítir bhalbh.

    Cuirim ordóg ramhar
    fé fhiacail an fheasa
    is labhrann an gallán
    as íochtar comhfheasa amach:
    Cúl le cine, cúl le cine
    mar is dual cine ded shórt,
    focail chomh crua
    le gráinne gainimhe
    fé chaipín súile
    atá iata chomh dlúth
    le sliogán oisre.

    Nuair a osclaíonn
    scian an tsolais
    a bhéal ar maidin,
    tá fiacail ar sceabha
    i ndrad mo mhic,
    agus gléas chomh hard
    le niamh an phéarla
    ar a gháire neamhfhoirfe gan teimheal.... more »

  • ON BEING LEFT

    When you're not here,
    milk turns sour in the fridge,
    the toaster burns the last piece
    of bread deliberately,
    the phone is struck dumb,
    and the postman dies
    on his way to the house.

    Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses,
    the minister and the parish priest,
    the Avon lady and the Amway man
    gang outside my door
    to lambast my blasted soul.
    Even Batman couldn't save me.

    Terrorists and murderers,
    clampers and tax inspectors
    crowd the backyard,
    pounding on locked windows,
    yelling my secrets at the top of their voices
    for the benefit of eavesdropping neighbours;
    my criminal sins and sinful crimes
    are a surprise to no one.

    In the cowering dumb dark inside,
    I hug your scent from cold sheets;
    I reach for Cúchulainn's hurley
    under the battlefurious
    lumpy mattress.... more »

  • TRÉIGTHE

    Nuair a bhíonn tú as baile
    géaraíonn bainne úr sa chuisneoir,
    dónn tósta uaidh féin,
    balbhaíonn an guthán
    is cailltear fear an phoist
    ar a shlí chun an tí.

    Cruinníonn Mormanaigh is Finnéithe Jehovah,
    an minister is an sagart paróiste,
    bean Avon is fear Amway
    le chéile ar lic an dorais
    chun m'anam damanta a dhamnú.
    Ní fhéadfadh Batman mé a shlánú.

    Plódaíonn sceimhlitheoirí is murdaróirí,
    maoir tráchta is cigirí cánach sa chlós
    ag pleancadh ar an bhfuinneog iata,
    ag sceitheadh mo rún os ard
    leis na comharsain chúiléistitheacha;
    ní chuireann mo pheacaí coiriúla
    ná mo choireanna peacúla
    aon iontas ar éinne.

    Sa doircheacht mheata bhalbh istigh
    fáiscim do chumhracht
    as bráillín fhuar,
    cuardaím camán Chúchulainn
    fén dtocht riastrach
    cnapánach.... more »