Tag Archives: Translations

‘modern art’ and other poems by Anamaría Crowe Serrano

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	
one more
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)

modern art

you’re slung 
against the wall

boxed in the past

your mouth apes
bereft of tongue
hoping to emit
a word
a silence, even

something, anything
of the side-tracked route
you had to take
from primitive iron
lodged in some alpine nook
through ism, to prism
to plexiglass

you’re waiting - aren’t you
for me 
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


i wake 		my arms wrapped 
around the city		legs enjamb-
     ed with its towers 	
skyward			/a formal

       silence 		      /stylized/
         flowers through its lights	
the smallness of them		struck
			by shadowed stills
     the colour of cavities	
    of not wanting to disturb	   /harmony 

28 degrees at midnight	slums unshimmering 
slumber	the eye insists on definition
          colour resists		/chaos v order/
                         could hang me 
         it’s a hollow that isn’t black 
          but marinated 
			stinky tofu 		
             where the street light 

	maybe it’s a smell	a size
			the meaning of a name		
				i can never forget   /beautiful 

corrugated iron angles into place	discreet  /elegant/
                          blanketblue & rustroof red 	 
     staggered across some great want			
                          where the revolution daubs
	its palette of scars

the stress clinic, at ulica Freta, 16 – before radium or polonium & modern art are © Anamaría Crowe Serrano. Read Jezebel & Taipei (PDF)
Anamaria Crowe Serrano-by RK at 7T

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 publicationsShe is currently Translations editor for Colony Journal: www.colony.ie.

Ingeborg Bachmann’s Poetry in translation by Mary O’Donnell 2.


 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.

Verily is © Ingeborg Bachmann, this translation is © Mary O’Donnell


Our land is the sky,
tilled by the sweat of engines,
in the face of night,
risking dreams—
dreamt from skullspots and pyres,
beneath the roof of the world, whose tiles
were carried off by the wind—and then rain, rain,
rain in our house and in the mills
the blind flights of bats.
Who lived there? Whose hands were pure?
Who lit the night,
haunted the spectres?
Concealed in feathers of steel, instruments,
timers and dials interrogate space,
the cloud-bushes, touch the body
of our hearts’ forgotten language:
short long long … For an hour
hailstones beat on the ear’s drum,
which, turned against us, listens and distorts.
The sun and Earth have not set,
merely wandered like unknown constellations.
We have risen from a harbour
where to return doesn’t count
not cargo not booty.
India’s spice and silks from Japan
belong to the handlers
as fish to the nets.
Yet there’s a smell,
forerunners of comets
and the wind’s web,
shredded by fallen comets.
Call it the status of the lonely,
for whom amazement happens.
Nothing further.
We have arisen, and the convents are empty,
since we endure, an order which does not cure
and does not instruct. To bargain is not
the pilots’ business. They have
set their sights and spread on their knees
the map of a world, to which nothing is added.
Who lives down there? Who weeps …
Who loses the key to the house?
Who can’t find his bed, who sleeps
on doorsteps? Who, when morning comes,
dares to point at the silver stripes: look, above me …
When the new water grips the millwheel,
who dares to remember the night?
Night Flight is © Ingeborg Bachmann, this translation is © Mary O’Donnell

220px-Klagenfurt_-_Musilhaus_-_Ingeborg_BachmannIngeborg 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 )

Poemhunter for Ingeborg Bachmann

Mary O' Donnell

Mary O’ Donnell

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.

◾Mary O’Donnell

‘Geasa’ le Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill.

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 at link 

‘The Pharaoh’s Daughter ‘, Gallery Press,1990.

The Bond, by Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, translated by Medbh McGuckian.

“Rendevous” by Elisaveta Bagyrana.

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.

Máthair Chréafóige, by Helen Soraghan Dwyer.

Earth Mother

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.

Máthair Chréafóige

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.