All posts tagged: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

‘The Headless Bird’ by Ileana Mãlãncioiu

According to custom, the old people have shut me away not to scare me stupid when they killed the bird, and I am listening by the bolted door to the trampling and the struggle. I twist the lock time has worn thin to forget what I have heard, to get away from this struggle where the body races after the head. And I jump when the eyes, thick with fear turn backwards, turn white, they look like grains of maize, the others come and peck at them. I take the head in one hand, the rest in the other, and when the weight grows too much I switch them                                                                          around until they are dead, so they are still connected at least in this way, through my body. But the head dies sooner, as if the cut had not been …

‘The Eye Itself is a Lily’ by Ileana Mãlãncioiu.

Behold the lily repeating itself eternally Three lilies in one the divine bouquet, So many more bouquets a wedding and a deathbed All the weddings and funerals the same lily.   Out of the lily my love the bridal dance, Out of the lily the funeral procession, Like a dragon with a thousand heads the lily Leaps out eternally to meet us.   The wind carries the lily seeds Lilies sprout from the stones of the great boulevards Lilies burst from the smooth plastered walls And out of the sun that burns us.   Like some eternal stalks the rays, The eye itself is a  lily and its core is empty, Sight looks out through the white petals Where acid has eaten its way.    by Ileana Mãlãncioiu.   This poem , by Ileana Mãlãncioiu, is taken from the Southword edition of After the Raising of Lazarus,  translated by Dr. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

‘The Second Voyage ‘ by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin.

Odysseus rested on his oar, and saw The ruffled foreheads of the waves Crocodiling and mincing past; he rammed The oar between their jaws, and looked down In the simmering sea, where scribbles of weeds defined Uncertain depth, and the slim fishes progressed In fatal formation, and thought If there was a single Streak of decency in those waves now, they’d be ridged, Pocked and dented with the battering they’d had And we could name them as Adam named the beasts Saluting a fresh one with dismay, or a notorious one With admiration; they’d notice us passing And rejoice at our destruction, but these Have less Character than sheep and need more patience. I know what I’ll do he said, I’ll park my ship in the crook of a long pier (And I’ll take you with me, he said to the oar) I’ll face the rising ground, and climb away From tidal waters, up river-beds Where herons parcel out the miles of stream, Over the gaps in the hills, through warm Silent valleys, and when …