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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: “Street-Talk/Comhrá ar shráid” by Máire Mhac an tSaoi

"Street-Talk" by Máire Mhac an tSaoi

Máire Mhac an tSaoi’s “Street-Talk/Comhrá ar shráid” winks fondly at the manners of a friend. Though beholden to her own life and loved ones, the poem’s speaker praises the siren-like charm of her companion’s language and good humor.

Street-Talk

On the flagged street
That day we happened to meet
You spoke to me so kindly
Asking courteously how I was,
That the air softened around me,
The dull impoverished city air,
With a little breeze you brought
From the west, from that place
By the sea where I first knew you…

That easy confidence,
And knowing how to behave,
Certain of your language,
Your gentle wit and
Courtly ability with it—
I was not born yesterday,
My gracious Kerry friend,
But believe me you could have
Turned me away from
My nearest and dearest.

Comhrá ar shráid

Ar leacacha na sráide
Nuair tharla ort an lá san
Do labhrais chugham chomh tláith sin
Am fhiafraí go muinteartha
Gur bhog an t-aer im thimpeall,
Aer bocht leamh na cathrach,
Le leoithne bhog aniar chughainn
Ó dhúthaigh cois farraige
Inar chuireas ort aithne…

An tsiúráil réidh sin,
Fios do bhéasa féin agat,
Teann as do Ghaelainn,
As do dheisbhéalaí
Mhín chúirtéisigh—
Ní leanbh ó aréir mé,
A Chiarraígh shéimh sin,
Ach creid mé gur fhéadais
Mé a chur ó bhuíochas
Mo dhaoine féinig.

Máire Mhac an tSaoi, translated by Louis de Paor, from The Miraculous Parish/An paróiste míorúilteach (2014)


Categories: Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Poem of the WeekTags: , ,

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