Wake: Up to Poetry
Poem of the Week: “For Sheila” by Máire Mhac an tSaoi
In Louis de Paor’s introduction to Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s The Miraculous Parish, he describes the way her poetry “speaks to and from the intimate experience of women at a time when women’s voices were largely inaudible.” Today’s poem, “For Sheila,” beautifully expresses that intimate experience.
I remember a room on the seaward side—
The squall caught it from the south-west—
And rain a tattoo on the window
Unslackening since the fall of night,
And I remember that you were there, Sheila,
Sitting low by the fire,
The gold ring on your childlike finger.
You gave us a heartbroken song
And your voice was the music of flutes,
Love’s catalogue brought here from France—
The fairness of your head was like the meadowsweet
Under the light of the lamp set on the table.
What do they matter more, little dear one, between us,
Separation of years, and aversions bred of friendship?
It was my lot to know you at that time.
-Máire Mhac an tSaoi, The Miraculous Parish (2014), translated from they Irish by Valentine Iremonger