“Beochaoineadh Máthar Maoise” and other poems by Ellen Nic Thomás

Beochaoineadh Máthar Maoise

A dhílleachta linbh gan ainm, gan athair,
Do chraiceann ar aondath le humha an nathair,
A lúbann timpeall do thaobhán uiríseal,
Mar bhata ceannródaí is sníomhanna sisil.

Is trua liom ciseán do dhóchas a fhíochán,
Do dhán a chaitheamh i bpoll an duibheagáin,
D’eiseadh a chruthú ar bhunús baill séire,
‘Nois tá tú chomh cotúil leis an gCailleach Bhéarra.

A iníon, a mhiceo, a ógfhlaith bocht,
A leanbh truaillithe, maith dom mo locht,
Imigh anois leat, ná bí do mo chrá,
Le smaointe ciúinchiontacha ó mhaidin go lá.

Ordóg Fhinn

Ordóg Fhinn —
The salmons skin
Brushes the truth to his lip.

The cardinal sin
The space within —
He dares to taste a sip.

Blistering bliss
The hero’s kiss
Upon one fingertip.

The bubble bursts,
The burning thirst —


Not a fever-stirring, raging thing,
The kind of sore that, left alone, won’t sting,
But crueller still it tempts me to indulge
To rake the wound and make the blisters bulge.
It calls my nails to dig deep in my skin,
And soon or late the call will always win,
And I will tear and bleed and scab and scar,
But know that I could have escaped unharmed,
And that is what will cause the deepest hurt,
For I have rubbed my own wound in the dirt.

And you will stand and watch and softly grin,
And say that this you have had no hand in,
For words are words and can’t be sticks or stones,
And breaking skin is much like breaking bones,
And if you ushered me towards an act,
No blame could duly be called yours in fact,
For faint-hearts will accept a tyrants rule,
Or simply none the wiser play the fool,
And so I’ll cradle wounds and loath mistakes,
For God will punish men and never snakes.

Junk Mail

This new-age madness spits its acidity on the skin of my mind,
Sweats and shivers like a junky,
In dry-tongued convulsions,
Mad for a fix.

The technicolour screen visions
That break the barrier between reality
And wired hallucination
Draw us all back in again
To its surreal futuristic nightmare-come-true

And byte by byte by gigabyte,
Devour us whole.

“Beochaoineadh Máthar Maoise” and other poems  © Ellen Nic Thomás

Ellen Nic Thomás is a bilingual poet from Dublin. She graduated from Trinity College with a BA in English and Irish. Her work has been published by headstuff.org, Tales From the Forest and The Attic.