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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Tionlacan/Accompaniment” by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

"Accompaniment" by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh

In this poem, Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh explores the beauty that comes from a tranquil, contemplative silence. It’s an apt piece to help one appreciate the lonesomeness that comes with working from home and spending more time with only ourselves. 


N’fheader arbh é
an ciúnas
nó an t-uaigneas
a dhúisigh ar maidin mé
ach bhí an suaimhneas san
chomh binn
chomh mín
gur chuala ceol na dtéad ionam.

Bhí téada úd na beatha
á dtarraingt agam
chomh teann
go mba dhóbair dóibh briseadh

ach deineadh ceol den chiùnas
is fonn mall den uaigneas
go raibh an suaimhneas
ag seinnt faram
agus ionam,


I can’t say
if it was the quiet
or lonesomeness
that woke me that morning
but a calm so sweet
and smooth
had come over me
that I could hear music for strings

the strings of life
were pulling on me
so firmly
I nearly snapped

music made of silence
a slow air of lonesomeness
until the quiet
inside me
was playing along
in a chorus

Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, translated by David Wheatley, from The Wake Forest Series of Irish Poetry, Vol. IV (2017)

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