2018-02-25

Antanas Sutkus

Antanas Sutkus
na seanfhoinn
ní éistear leo níos mó...
níl na cluasa acu chuige
old tunes
no one listens to them anymore...
they just don't have the ear
παλιά τραγούδια
κανείς πια δεν τ' ακούει...
δεν έχουν αυτί

Leagan Gréigise: Sarah Thilykou

2018-02-24

FRAGMENTED SOUL

The Moon on my Tongue:
Photo: The Hone Tuwhare Charitable Trust
An anthology of Māori Poetry in English
Edited by Reina Whaitiri, Robert Sullivan, Ben Styles
(Arc Publications 2017)
 


Who knew that Māori poetry has been written in English for over 120 years? Arc Publications are known for their translations and there are many readers who would have welcomed a volume of poems translated from the Māori in preference to this. Then again, as Māori novelist Keri Hulme, informs us:
 ‘Māori is a word-of-mouth language, it has only recently been turned to print, and a great deal of its mana and strength still lie outside the blackened word…’ 
The blackened word – how extraordinary!
    
Followers of rugby – a sport that was originally a tool of empire – will know little about Māori culture other than haka, the song of defiance sung before battle. Others might treasure a gentler note in such songs as Pokarekare ana (The Waves). My Irish-language free version of that haunting song is as follows:

    Tobar Lán

    Is suaite iad na huiscí
    na huiscí sin Waipu
    ach nuair a théann tusa sall
    ciúnaítear iad, a rún

    A stóirín bán
    tar chugam ar ais
    do chom, do bhrollach,
    is do bhéilín tais

    Tá mo litir agam scríofa
    le go dtuigfidh do mhuintir
    go bhfuilimse suaite
    ó mhaidin go hoíche

    Tá mo pheann gan bhrí
    gan duilleog agam ná pár
    ach tá tusa ionam:
    maireann tú im lár

    Grá buan daingean thugas duit
    tobar lán nach raghaidh i ndísc
    gach aon deoir atá ionam
    go domhain sa tobar ritheann síos

Beautiful and tender as it is – Pokarekare ana was, in fact, a love letter to his second wife – the Māori author Paraire Tomoana was an Anglican and something of a war-monger! There are many recordings of his touching song:

To complicate matters even further, certain Gaelscoileanna (Irish-medium schools) have rejected the dripping sensuality of my version in favour of a hymn to the Virgin, the lyrics adapted suitably as follows:

    A Mhuire Mháthair

    A Mhuire Mháthair,
    Sé seo mo ghuí
    Go maire Íosa
    Go deo im’ chroí

    Curfá
    Ave Maria, mo ghrá Ave,
    Is tusa mo mháthair ’s máthair Dé.

    A Mhuire Mháthair,
    I rith mo shaoil
    Bí liom mar dhídean
    ar gach aon bhaol.

    A Mhuire Mháthair
    ‘tá lán de ghrást’
    Go raibh tú taobh liom
    Ar uair mo bháis.

Why, some even claim that the original tune was not Māori at all but Irish or Scottish! Who knows? Anyway, of the two versions, I prefer the hymn. 
                                    

***

 The Moon on my Tongue is very evasive on the question of the bloody conflict between the two languages, Māori and English. In his Introduction, Ben Styles says: ‘Setting aside for the moment the terrible physical and political violence that followed this first encounter . . .’ When I come across the phrase ‘for the moment’, I expect the author to return to this vital subject, but no. It is dropped like a hot potato. Of course, the subject is often dropped in Ireland as well, as one might drop a blighted tuber.


This is an anthology of Māori Poetry in English and, as one might expect, it is peppered with Irish names, names such as Michael O’Leary, represented here with a poem called He Waiatanui Kia Aroha. Unglossed titles, words and phrases abound in this anthology as they do in some of our own macaronic compositions. Incidentally, by way of a very tiny footnote to literary history, New Zealand’s Michael O’Leary features in the English translation of my novella, Lacertidae, and a free PDF is available online if there’s any O’Leary out there who might be interested in tracking down a long-lost Māori relation!

If you are at all concerned for humanity, its past and future, The Moon on my Tongue will break your heart:

Take your hands from your ears
Hear their screams . . .

Bruce Stewart

This long morning we sit in a colonial outpost
And sip our English Breakfast tea …

Reihana Robinson

These Māori today
Are not Māori anymore
I don’t know what they are …

 Apirana Taylor

  
Fragmented, my soul lies here, there: in
The waste-wood, around …

Hone Tuwhare


Still, he has come, the white man
-    has come, and has conquered
wiped from beneath us
that base we knew so well
so that it should exist no more
but be replaced, our glorious heritage
with muskets, fire and bricks
with industry, with progress
with 1966.

 Ngahuia Te Awekotuku



Readers of The Moon on my Tongue will want to know more about these poets, luminaries such as Hone Tuwhare (1922-2008) who spoke Māori as a child. Then his well-meaning father handed him the Bible in English and commanded the boy to read it back to him. One critic describes Tuwhare’s poetry as a ‘collision’ between the Bible and native Māori narratives. He couldn’t afford university, he gets a job, becomes interested in Marxism and in American writers – so different to the British, as he says – writers with a social conscience, Steinbeck, Hemingway, Dos Passos, Thomas Wolfe. Recordings of the poet reveal the shaman behind the socialist-activist. We need shamans as much as we need scientists today, to save our rivers and trees, to save our languages.

Tuwhare’s father was taught to view the Bible (yet another tool of empire!) as the word of God. Did not God (or the gods) speak through the creation myths of the Māori as well? I found one glorious example in a curious compendium called Nineteenth Century Miracles by E.H. Britten: it seems to me that the Māori text is as powerful and as beautiful as Genesis any day. So let’s sign off our musings with this memorable extract:

The Word became fruitful;
it dwelt with the feeble glimmering.
it brought forth night;
the great night, the long night.
Night, blackness, evermore;
the lowest night, the lofty night;
the thick night to be felt;
the night to be touched;
the night not yet to be seen;
the night of death, yet alive;
no eyes yet in the world.

2018-02-23

Mugadh Magadh

Mugadh Magadh

Faigheann Coiste Forbartha an Bhaile litir an bealach ar fad ón Ind:
iarratas ar nasc:
Ainm na háite san Ind: Magadh*. Dáiríre!
Ní fhreagrófar an litir ar ndóigh

Faigheann an Coiste tuairim is scór litir mhagaidh
den sórt sin in aghaidh na bliana

Más fíor do na ráflaí
is é an Cathaoirleach féin a scríobhann a leath acu

*Tá áit ann darb ainm Magadh agus é luaite i sraith de dhánta cáiliúla de chuid an fhile Indiaigh Shrikant Verma


Mockery

The Development Committee has received a letter all the way from India:
a request for town twinning
with a place called Magadh*. Honest to God!
Needless to say, the letter goes unanswered.

The Committee gets about twenty such prank letters
on a yearly basis

Rumour has it that the Chairman himself
writes half of them

*Shrikant Verma wrote an illustrious sequence of poems in Hindi about a place called Magadh. In Irish of course, ‘magadh’ means ‘mockery’.












2018-02-22

Traigéid na nImirceach

Adeodato Barreto (1905-1937)

Do mhuintir Goa atá, mo dhála féin, ina gcónaí i bhfad óna dtír dhúchais, scaipthe gach áit

Gníomh a hAon

Tarraing aníos an t-ancaire, seol leat  . . .
agus as go brách leis an duine thar an mbarra.
Ar talamh, broinn thorrach agus bean
ag caoineadh . . .

Bailithe leis:
thug leis an solas ina shúile
a anam go léir ag cur thar maoil le solas . . .
bhí gaistí roimhe
ar an mbóthar fada achrannach
ach ní fhaca sé iad  . . .

Deirtear agus é ag imeacht
gur impigh an gort Ríse air:

Stad, ná himigh!
Nach gcuireann sé as duit
seisce mo bhroinne torthúla
a fheiscint?
Cén fáth aghaidh a thabhairt ar thíortha i gcéin
nuair d’fhéadfá an talamh tirim seo
a iompú
ina ghráinseach
le do lámh féin?

Agus faoi rún, chuir an Crann Cnó Cócó
leis sin, á rá go buartha:
Fan! Ná bíodh eagla ort!
Ó fhréamh go frainse
is stóras ollmhór mé
Nach n-éiríonn folamh riamh . . .

Táimse dúnta do na codlatáin
ach ofrálaim mé féin dóibh siúd
atá cruógach.
Caith uait do chuid smaointe seafóideacha!
Fan! Ná bíodh eagla ort!
Labhair an Abhainn leis chomh maith
go séimh:

Nach baoth dhuit slán a rá linn!
Is gearr go gcaithfidh an sruth seo
in aigéan na beatha thú!
Ar nós an-chuid eile – an-chuid go deo! –
is tú ag imeacht, dírithe ar sprioc, beag beann
ar m’áilleachtsa . . .
faraor nach bhfaighir i dtír do chuid aislingí –
tusa a bhfuil an Eachtraíocht
imithe sa cheann agat
beagán dá bhfuil
i mo chuidse íon-uiscí!

Ag Teach Solais Aguada
a dúradh slán den uair dheireanach
is é ag imeacht:

Ó, a Dhia
an chinniúint chruálach seo:
treoir a thabhairt dóibh siúd ar shlí a n-aimhleasa . . .
cuirimse na gaistí in iúl dóibh
agus dainséir na mara . . .
comhartha i ndiaidh comhartha
arís is arís eile . . .
Agus gabhann an taistealaí thar bráid:
Ní fhéachann a shúile ach
ar aigéin de bhaoite.
Ní thugann sracfhéachaint ormsa . . .
Taistealaí na n-aislingí,
meangadh ort is tú ag imeacht,
sa tóir ar Chiste,
an eol duit, seans, a dheacra is atá se
filleadh?

Níor fhreagair an duine: faoin dtráth sin
bhí sé imithe i bhfad thar an mbarra . . .

Ní fada
go n-imíonn as radharc seolta bána
Rámhlong dhána an Chiméara ina gceann is ina gceann . . .

…………………………………………………………
Tá an gníomh thart,
Titeann brat an cheo  . . .


Gníomh II

-    Siar libh . . .
Siar libh  . . .
Siar libh  . . .

Táim an-an-anseo . . .
-    Agus stop sé . . .

Cáis taistil, ualaí,

Fir, cáis taistil,
agus fir liatha
á n-ardú
is á n-iompar
ar chairteacha
de láimh . . .
Lámha garbha
cosa crua
cosa a shiúlann
ar nós cuma liom
ar sheile
ar an talamh  . . .

Seo iad an bhaicle
a mhaireann ar nithe a iompar
nó a bhrú go teann
féachaint cé d’fhostódh iad,
ag eascainí
go grusach
is iad i bhfad ón Tír atá ina gcroí,
i bhfad ón mBean a d’fháiscfeadh lena hucht iad . . .

Féasóga fada,
is geall le baird iad,
colainneacha téagartha ach crom
faoina n-ualaí . . .
guthanna duairce
garbha,
a mheabhródh fógra i gcéin duit –
seanaisling atá marbh anois . . .
Súile Chríost sa Ghairdín
i bhfíor Bharabas . . .
Curfá bhrónach istoíche
a chanann laoi a bhféindíbeartha,
an aisling bhréagach á caoineadh,
is iad gan ghrá ina ndílleachtaí.
Ar urlár fuar an ghairéid
in andúil rúnda an mhanaigh
a n-útamáil is a dtóraíocht – gan mhaith –
is faide ná riamh í
an nead theolaí ata fágtha acu ina ndiaidh . . .

Cloíte, tosnaíd ag srannadh,
beithígh bhochta iompair! –
is titeann chun tromshuain . . .
…………………
…………………
Is ar an traigéide ghoirt seo
titeann an brat arís.

Gníomh III

Seo chugainn
Bóthar na Cinniúna aniar
An t-oilithreach fáin:

Caol,
cnaíte,
níl maide
ná gurd oilithrigh aige:
mheabhródh sé
Críost cráite dhuit
é tagtha anuas ó chros éigin
ag iarraidh na cosa a thabhairt leis
ó na gadhair . . .

Máithreacha
ag sciobadh a gcuid páistí
ó na conairí
a shiúlann sé . . .

Má shnapann an mongral air
is plaic a bhaint as
gáirfidh an seanaoire, a úinéir,
gan faic a rá.
Is féidir cheana féin na coilm air a chomhaireamh
ar nós laethanta
an aistir aige  . . .

Siúlann sé go balbh
ag déanamh a mharana:
muc ar gach mala aige
ar nós scamaill dhubha
ó oibseisiún dorcha –
seantaibhreamh atá marbh anois . . .

Is seo chugainn ag siúl é,
an fánaí:
siúlann sé go balbh
ag déanamh a mharana:
muc ar gach mala aige
ar nós scamaill dhubha
ó oibseisiún dorcha –
seantaibhreamh atá marbh anois . . .

Is seo chugainn ag siúl é,
an fánaí:
caol,
cnaíte,
níl maide
ná gurd oilithrigh aige:
mheabhródh sé
Críost cráite dhuit
é tagtha anuas óna chros . . .

……………………………….

Cé hé?
duine éigin . . .
Duine Éigin nach duine éigin níos mó é  . . .
is nach Éinne anois é  . . .

Rí mór i mbrionglóid mhór b’fhéidir.
Laoch mór b’fhéidir i meabhalscáil,
Gealt b’fhéidir nó aiséiteach, nó aithríoch
Á! Is cinnte nach é
an t-ógfhear gealgháireach é
a ghabh amach i rámhlong
maidin cheoch
agus misneach ina chroí . . .

Cé hé?
Cá bhfios?
Duine den slua sin
a shiúlann an domhan,
gan aige ach ón lámh go dtí an béal:
Na daoine sin, anam Chríost
agus aghaidh chantalach
Iúdáis,
na daoine sin a bhfuil dúchas ropairí iontu
in éide naomh,
iad go léir seargtha
ag an ocras.

A n-ainm?
-    “Cloíte” –
Taibhse,
íomhá lag
d’aisling i dtaibhreamh
faoi thaibhse
a chonacthas i meabhalscáil;
Cad atá fágtha inniu? Faic!
Cad atá fágtha den limistéar órga sin
ar chuir tú fios ina thaobh uair amháin,
d’anam ag ceiliúradh
mar mhairnéalach misniúil,
cad atá fágtha?
Gal!

An Abhainn, an Teach Solais cairdiúil
an gort Ríse is an Crann Cnó Cócó
chonaiceadar eachtránaí cróga ag imeacht
agus bacach ag teacht  . . .

Agus an mháthair leis an mbroinn thorrach
sí an duine céanna í a sciobann
an páiste
ód’ chonairse . . .
……
……..
……..

Féach, siúd ag imeacht an bacach-oilithreach
ar bhóthar na Cinniúna,
féach, siúd ag imeacht, siúd ag imeacht é,
foscadh éigin á lorg aige
áit a bhfaighidh sé tearmann.

……..
Sioscann an ghaoth  . . . feadaíl …
…….
…….
Ar an dráma dearóil seo
titeann brat na hoíche.

(Ajustrel, An Phortaingéal,  5ú Bealtaine 1935)



2018-02-21

Cé eile a thuigeann cumha?

File: Goethe
Cumadóir: Schubert

Cé eile a thuigeann cumha

Cé eile a thuigeann cumha
Cumha atá cráite!
Scartha is ‘mithe amú
Níl séan i ndán dom.
Féachaim sna spéartha thuas
Féachaim le díograis
Eisean atá im’ chroí
Tá ar an gcoigríoch.
Le corrabhuais, le cumha
Lasann mo chroí istigh.
Cé eile a thuigeann cumha
Cumha atá cráite.

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Weiß, was ich leide!
Allein und abgetrennt
Von aller Freude
Seh ich an's Firmament
Nach jener Seite.
Ach, der mich liebt und kennt,
Ist in der Weite.
Es schwindelt mir, es brennt
Mein Eingeweide.
Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Weiß, was ich leide!

2018-02-20

Kon Markogiannis

Kon
nuair a scoilteann an aigne
an éalaíonn dia . . .
cá ngabhann sé
when the mind cracks
does god escape . . .
where can he go
όταν o νους ραγίζει
το σκάει ο θεός...
μα πού να πάει

Sarah Thilykou a rinne an leagan Gréigise

2018-02-19

Dealbh

Dealbh

Tá dealbh nua i lár Bhaile na nGabhar
níl a fhios ag éinne cé (nó cad) atá ann
Ag cruinniú éigeandála de Choiste Forbartha an Bhaile
dearbhaítear nach bhfuarthas cead –
nár lorgaíodh cead – chun dealbh ar bith a chur ann

Chosnódh sé an iomarca airgid chun an dealbh a bhaint anuas
cá gcuirfí é?
ghlac Sydney na hAstráile le dealbh de Victoria
nach raibh ag teastáil; b’in scéal eile.

Ní bheadh sé ceart é a scriosadh
‘Ní sinne an tIRA’ arsa an Cathaoirleach
(bualadh bos lag)
‘D’fhéadfaí í a chur,’ ar sé,
‘ach cá bhfios ná go nochtfadh sí arís –
dála Victoria i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh.’
‘Nach bhfuil aon náire orthu?’ arsa Leiftí.
‘Cad dúirt tú?’ arsa Bean de Lása-Uí Mhóráin.
Moltar gan faic a dhéanamh
 12 in aghaidh, 2 ar son an rúin

Nuair a bhíonn siad amuigh ag siúl leis an ngadhar
nó ag tiomáint thar bráid
ligeann baill an Choiste orthu féin
nach bhfuil dealbh ar bith ann

Tá sé curtha glan as a n-intinn acu

Uaireanta fiafraíonn strainséirí
‘Cé hé mo dhuine, Fionn Mac Cumhaill, ab ea,
mo dhuine úd sa dealbh?’
‘Cén dealbh?’ an freagra.

Statue

Glengower has a new statue smack in the middle of the town
nobody knows who (or what) it represents
The Development Committee holds an emergency meeting
and it is established that permission was never granted –
or sought – to erect any kind of statue

It would cost too much to dismantle it
where should it go?
Sydney, Australia, embraced an unwanted statue of Victoria
but that was then. This is now.
It would be wrong to blow it up
‘We’re not the IRA’ declares the Chairman
(to faint applause)
‘We could bury it,’ he suggests
‘But it might be exhumed as was a statue of Victoria
in University College Cork.’
‘Have they no shame?’ asks Lefty.
‘What did you say!?’ says Mrs de Lacy-Moran.

He proposes to do nothing
the motion is passed: 12 yeas 2 nays

When out walking the dog
or driving through town
members of the Committee
pretend it doesn’t exist

It has been put out of their minds

Sometimes a stranger might ask:
‘Who’s your man, Finn Mc Cool is it? The statue?’
‘What statue?’ is the standard reply.