the stress clinic
it’s ok no one need know only negligible
impending threat i’m going to leave you
let healing happen
i’m turning left into the coffee shop it’s easy
like this one step
comforting to sit
even on seats slashed by spooks
i can wait learn patience is learnt on the edge
other worlds where others wait
for the breath something that “presents”
a hiatus between one distress and
the nest you’re reluctant to leave
it’s ok the world is out there still the density
you love suspended in space preparing
the next problem for you to solve you’re good
at that talented
are you ok? me too it’s just
the acid sprung on a tensile in my stomach
at ulica Freta, 16 – before radium or polonium
the wood seeps into your bones
in a room that lives as if its grain
& whorls were part of your nervous
system – smooth marrow – polished
in your tea one lump, two meticulous
the molecules contract till they disappear
optical illusions have their own reality
billowing on the balcony Poland
is diluted Prussian Russian
fission renames a people
invents a purpose of its own
but you can shut it out indomitable
in a room that soon is rubble while thunder
splits the summer partitions your
future gladioli everywhere alert
to your black dress alive your luggage
waltzing in the street
(originally published in Can-Can #2)
against the wall
boxed in the past
your mouth apes
bereft of tongue
hoping to emit
a silence, even
of the side-tracked route
you had to take
from primitive iron
lodged in some alpine nook
through ism, to prism
you’re waiting - aren’t you
to gut you
get the warm feel
of your spasm
when I tug
on the spinal cord
and watch you
to the ground
refusing to be pressed
Anamaría Crowe Serrano is a poet and translator born in Ireland to an Irish father and a Spanish mother. She grew up bilingually, straddling cultures, rarely with her nose out of a book. Languages have always fascinated her to the extent that she has never stopped learning or improving her knowledge of them. She enjoys cross-cultural and cross-genre exchanges with artists and poets. Much of her work is the result of such collaborations. With a B.A. (Hons) in Spanish and French from Trinity College Dublin, Anamaría went on to do an M.A. in Translation Studies at Dublin City University. Since then, she has worked in localization (translating hardware and software from English to Spanish), has been a reader for the blind, and occasionally teaches Spanish. For over 15 years she has translated poetry from Spanish and Italian to English. Anamaría is the recipient of two awards from the Arts Council of Ireland to further her writing. Her translations have won many prizes abroad and her own poetry has been anthologised in Census (Seven Towers), Landing Places (Dedalus), Pomeriggio (Leconte) and other publications. She is currently Translations editor for Colony Journal: www.colony.ie.
For Anna Achmatova He who has never been rendered speechless, I’m telling you, whoever merely feathers his own nest and with words – is beyond help. Not by the shortcut nor by way of the long. To make a single sentence tenable, to withstand the ding-dong of language. Nobody writes this sentence, without signing up.
Ingeborg Bachmann was born in Klagenfurt, in the Austrian state of Carinthia, the daughter of a headmaster. She studied philosophy, psychology, German philology, and law at the universities of Innsbruck, Graz, and Vienna. In 1949, she received her Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Vienna with her dissertation titled “The Critical Reception of the Existential Philosophy of Martin Heidegger,” her thesis adviser was Victor Kraft. After graduating, Bachmann worked as a scriptwriter and editor at the Allied radio station Rot-Weiss-Rot, a job that enabled her to obtain an overview of contemporary literature and also supplied her with a decent income, making possible proper literary work. Furthermore, her first radio dramas were published by the station. Her literary career was enhanced by contact with Hans Weigel (littérateur and sponsor of young post-war literature) and the legendary literary circle known as Gruppe 47, whose members also included Ilse Aichinger, Paul Celan, Heinrich Böll, Marcel Reich-Ranicki and Günter Grass. (Wiki Extract )
Mary O’Donnell is the author of eleven books, both poetry and fiction, and has also co-edited a book of translations from the Galician. Her titles include the best-selling literary novel The Light-Makers, Virgin and the Boy, and The Elysium Testament, as well as poetry such as The Place of Miracles, Unlegendary Heroes, and her most recent critically acclaimed sixth collection The Ark Builders (Arc Publications UK, 2009). She has been a teacher and has worked intermittently in journalism, especially theatre criticism. Her essays on contemporary literary issues are widely published. She also presented and scripted three series of poetry programmes for the national broadcaster RTE Radio, including a successful series on poetry in translation during 2005 and 2006 called Crossing the Lines. Today, she teaches creative writing in a part-time capacity at NUI Maynooth, and has worked on the faculty of Carlow University Pittsburgh’s MFA programme in creative writing, as well as on the faculty of the University of Iowa’s summer writing programme at Trinity College Dublin.
Má chuirim aon lámh ar an dtearmann beannaithe, má thógaim droichead thar an abhainn, gach a mbíonn tógtha isló ages na ceardaithe bíonn sé leagtha ar maidin romham. Tagann aníos an abhainn istoíche bád is bean ina seasamh inti. Tá coinneal ar lasadh ina súil is ina lámha. Tá dhá mhaide rámha aici. Tairrigíonn sí amach paca cartaí, ‘An imréofá brieth?’ a deireann sí. Imrímid is buann sí orm de shíor is cuireann sí de cheist, de bhreith is de mhórualach orm Gan an tarna béile a ithe in aon tigh, ná an tarna oíche a chaitheamh faoi aon díon, gan dhá shraic chodlata a dhéanamh ar aon leaba go bhfaighead í. Nuair a fhiafraím di cá mbíonn sí, ‘Dá mba siar é soir, ‘ a deireann sí, ‘dá mba soir é sior.’ Imíonn sí léi agus splancacha tintrí léi is fágtar ansan mé ar an bport. Tá an dá choinneal fós ar lasadh le mo thaobh. D’fhág sí na maidi rámha agam.
Geasa le Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, as Pharaoh’s Daughter. Gallery Press. 1990. This poem is from Pharaoh’s Daughter by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, 1990, Gallery Press (Editor Peter Fallon). With thanks to Gallery Press for permission to reproduce here. I have added poet Medbh McGuckian‘s translation atlink
The Bond, by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, translated by Medbh McGuckian.
I discovered your footprints in the sand and to get there sooner I ran legs sinking at the knees, and fell from exhaustion, and when I climbed the hill – in astonishment I was calling, as if I’d seen you for the first time on that unforgettable evening.
You filled the entire horizon, for then you seemed enormous, with hair in the clouds, feet on the shore. And you saw me and reached for me – as if you sought to embrace the universe – everything … Listen to my heartbeat, see the tears in my eyes and remember – no one has ever embraced me like this, nor have I embraced anyone ever- like this. And if at this moment my joy lowers the scales and God wants to shorten the thread of my days, I shall extend my arm to Him asking for supreme grace.
1927, Elisaveta Bagranya, Trans Belin Tonchev. from Elisvatea Bagyrana , Penelope Of the Twentieth Century. Publ. Forest Books 1993.
for Firoana. The plains of Romania Under thirty degrees of heat Stretch to the poplar trees At the edge of the earth. A weathered peasant lady Offers me water, Her toothless smile Mothers me As I rest in the shade. She is a daughter of this soil, Of sun and sweat and toil. I am from a city She will never visit. As I return her smile And sip her water She is every woman’s mother, I am every woman’s daughter.
from Still, by Helen Soraghan Dwyer.
do Firoana Machairí na Rómáine I mbrothall an lae Síneann go poibleoga bhána Ar imeall an domhain. Bean chríonna tuaithe A thairgeann deoch dom, Miongháire mantach Dom mhúirniú Istigh faoin bhfothain. Iníon chréafóige í, Iníon allais is gréine. Ón gcathair nach bhfeicfir choíche Is ea do thángas. Aoibh ormsa leis Ag ól uisce, Iníon cách mise, Máthair cách í siúd. as Faire, le Helen Soraghan Dwyer. Lapwing Publications, Belfast 2010. Note about the Book. I picked up this book and another volume of women’s poetry on Saturday, in my local bookshop. The poetry section is well-balanced and stocked. As I have not asked permission to advertise the shop, so I won’t name the wonderful proprietor yet. Suffice it to say that she also does some excellent internet ordering , and has some independently bound essays which are virtually impossible to get in Ireland. I shall edit this with a link to catalogues in the near future.
Máthair Chréafóige – Earth Mother by Helen Soraghan Dwyer. From Still – Faire. Trans, Bernadette Nic an tSaoir Lapwing Publications 2010.