For the month of March we have been showcasing writers and writing who have engaged with the Irish language. On the final post for this month Trasna is pleased to share the work of poet, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, a bilingual poet from the West Kerry Gaeltacht of Corca Dhuibhne. Ní Chinnéide here shares poems in both their original Irish and in English translations, and as a special treat, two of her poems in audio read by herself and accompanied by renowned guitarist, Steve Cooney. The two audio tracks are from an album of her poetry set to music, which will be digitally released later this year. This is therefore a special pre-release of these tracks, heard for the first time on Trasna.
The Day the Blaskets were Nicked
If, on one wintry morning, by surprise
they were nicked from the sea
their absence akin to a lost soul;
the distance between me and the horizon
gap-toothed without their wild ghosts
concealed in fierce slabs of rock;
like stones on my prayer beads
in the vast church of nature
God hidden under sea mist;
marginal, like myself
a three dimensional sanctuary
on the tides of fate.
An Lá a Sciobadh na Blascaoidí
Dá sciobfaí ón bhfarraige iad
maidin éigin gheimhriúil, de gheit,
ba chailliúint anama a neamhláithreacht;
an fhaid idir mé is íor na spéire
mantach gan a bpúcaí scéirdiúla
ceilte sna stuaiceanna fíochmhara;
mar a bheadh clocha ar mo phaidrín
in eaglais fhairsing an nádúir
Dia i bhfolach fé cheobhrán mara;
imeallach, ar mo chuma féin
ina dtearmann tríthoiseach
ar thaoide na cinniúna.
in memory of Dr Mike Carney
An islander died today
a word in the language died
a tradition died
a local place name died
a piece of an ancient culture died
an islander died today
the local race lost a person.
i ndílchuimhne ar an Dr Mícheál Ó Cearna
Cailleadh oileánach inniu
cailleadh focal ón dteanga
cailleadh nós imeachta
cailleadh logainm áitiúil
cailleadh smut de chultúr ársa
cailleadh oileánach inniu
chaill an cine dúchais duine.
Mermaid in the Lake
On the run from myself
under the mountain sanctuary
as I moved
over soft fields
and the walls of my conscience
that I might find peace.
as I seek the space
of regular breath
worshipping blank pages
with my personal rituals
without the cockerels of life in my ear.
My internal forecast is rough
like grey clouds
over my summer
as I seek the sun with my pen.
My streams overflow
with emotional floods
leaving chaos on my rivers edge
I retreat into the lake
suckling the energy of quiet
away from confusion and heartache.
I aspire to the meditative state of monks
to correct, without correcting
on the path of equilibrium
I am not of the great world
but a mermaid with an M.A. in pretense
eternally dreaming of water.
Murúch sa Loch
Ar teitheadh uaim féin
fé thearmann sléibhe
mar a ghluaiseas
thar mhachairí méithe
is clathacha mo choinsiasa
go bhfaighinn suaimhneas.
mé ag tóraíocht an spáis
go mbeadh m’anál rialta
ag adhradh leathanaigh bhána
lem’ dheasghnátha pearsanta
gan coiligh an tsaoil im’ chluais.
Tá m’aimsir inmheánach garbh
ina scamaill liaithe
ar mo shamhradh
ag lorg na gréine lem’ pheann.
Tá mo shruthán ag cur thar maoil
ag tuillte mothálacha
a fhágann scríob is scrios ar mo bhruach
cúlaím isteach sa loch
ag tál fuinnimh sa chiúnas
ó mhearathal is crá croí.
Is ansa liom macnamh na manach
go gceartóinn, gan cheartú
ar chosán na cothramaíochta
ní den tsaol mór mé
ach murúch le Máistreacht sa chur i gcéill
de shíor ag taibhreamh ar uisce.
It is a subtle shift
tremulous notes like star music
filtering gently into that murky space
that obscures the path to happiness
a celestial symphony of pure joy
quivering through eddies of sadness
lifting the spirit towards clarity
from the lonely precipice
only an echo remains
of that ancient song you thought defined you
before you knelt before the Gods of wisdom
and sought the taste of the well of truth
no more the dance of destruction
for now you choose your own guides
to hold your hand out of respect
in a circle of true friendship
empowering you to love and be loved
in this sacred life spun with threads of pure gold.
Is milis an mhil
a shíothlaíonn go séimh
isteach sa spás rúnda
a cheilis ort féin
ar do bharraicíní le fíoráthas
ag eitilt os cionn chuaifeacha an bhróin
ag soiléiriú do spride
is ó bharra na haille
ní maireann ach macalla
an amhráin a mhúnlaigh thú
go gcuais ar do ghlúine
roim’ dhéithe na gaoise
ag ól as tobar na fírinne
do chúl anois led’ ainnise
do láimh i lámh na gcarad
go dtugair is go nglacair le fíorghrá
sa tsaol seo snite le snáithíní óir.
poems from ‘Fé Gheasa : Spellbound’ (Arlen House), 2016
(c) Dairena Ní Chinnéide
Dairena Ní Chinnéide is a bilingual poet from the Gaeltacht of Corca Dhuibhne in West Kerry, Ireland. The most recent of her eleven published collections is Tairseach by Éabhlóid (2021); deleted by Salmon Poetry (2019) was her first collection in English. Among her previous collections are Fé Gheasa : Spellbound, Arlen House, (2016); An Trodaí & Dánta Eile / The Warrior & Other Poems, Cló Iar Chonnacht, (2006); Cloithear Aistear Anama, Coiscéim, (2013); and Labhraíonn Fungie / Fungie Speaks, Ponc Press (2015). She has received numerous awards for her writing including Irish Language Literature Bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland, Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Munster Literature Centre Covid Bursary and a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship. She was Irish Language Writer-in-Residence for DCU (Dublin City University) 2017-2018. Currently she is Writer-in- Residence for the language and culture organization Oidhreacht Chorca Dhuibhne in partnership with Ealaín na Gaeltachta. She has performed her poetry at festivals and literary events throughout Ireland, Europe and the United States of America. Dairena is a former broadcaster and journalist, television producer and interpreter.
Author photo: Lisa Ní Laoire
5 Responses to Dairena Ní Chinnéide ~ “The Day the Blaskets were Nicked” and other poems
- Steve O’Connor says:March 27, 2021 at 8:02 amBeautiful poems by Dairena Ní Chinnéide and music by Steve Cooney. I enjoyed hearing the poems in Irish, too.
- Noreen Carney McNamara says:March 27, 2021 at 9:11 pmSo beautiful Dairena, thank you so much for your lovely words.
- Michael O Callaghan says:March 28, 2021 at 2:09 pmDairena, mo Gra agus mo cheoil thu. Danta draiochtmhair a tugann dochais, misneach agus leigheas do mo croi. Ta an ceoil draiochtmhair chom maith. Suas le Cuas an Bhodaigh, Michael65.
- Jeannie Sargent Judge says:March 29, 2021 at 3:57 pmThank you for sharing these treasures! The recordings with music are exquisite!
- Malcolm Sharps says:March 30, 2021 at 11:10 amWhat a wonderful choice. In my case, there’s the words I understand and the words I don’t understand, and they both sound like poetry.