Daouarn va Zad

The Hands of my Father




‘Daouarn va Zad’ is a poem by the Breton writer, wife and mother Naïg Rozmor (born 1923).



Daouarn va Zad

(Brezhoneg / Breton)

An dour a deu e va daoulagad
Pa zoñjan e daouarn va zad!
Daouarn eur houer, rouz ha fraillet
Evel an douar pa vez skarnilet
Gand avel pud an hanternoz.

Ledan ‘oant evel golvaziou
Digoret gand ar gwall labouriou
Med pa drohent deom or bara,
Evel re ar beleg d’ar gorreou,
Daouarn va zad a skuille grasou.


(©:Naïg Rozmor, Breizh)



It was the discovery of this poem in Breton and in German in the book, Keltische Sprachinsel (‘Celtic Language Islands’), by Dr. Sabine Heinz that made me aware of the existence of Naïg Rozmor (born 1923) and of her extraordinary life as a wife, a mother and a writer in Breton.
Surprisingly, Google was unable to find anything about her in English. However, it did find a link to a page in French.

Then a friend sent me a link to a piece in English. And that is it. The most widely used language in history knows almost nothing about this great writer!



On the night my father died (Monday 31 October, 1988), I remember looking at his hands. Even though he had lost half his body weight, the hands of my father were still twice as big as mine. He had spent most of his life working hard as a plasterer and his hands were cracked, scarred and fissured.



The Hands of my Father

The tears spring up in my eyes
When I remember the hands of my father
The hands of a peasant, brown and creased
Like the ground that is bleached
By the bleak north wind.

The hands of my father were as wide as a washing board
They were cracked by hard labour,
But when they cut bread
They were like those of a priest at Mass,
The hands of my father, they handed out graces.

(Translation: Barry Tobin, Cardiff)



Lámha mo Athar

(Gaeilge / Irish)

Tagann na deora le mo shúile
Nuair a chuímhním ar lámha mo athar,
Lámha scolóige, donn agus rocach
Mar a bheadh talamh a bhí bánaithe
Ag géire na gaoithe aduaidh.

Bhíodh lámha mo athar chomh leathan le clár níocháin
Agus iad scoilte ag obair an chruatain.
Ach ag gearadh aráin dóibh
Dála lámha an tsagairt ag an Ofráil,
Bhíodh lámha mo athar ag dáileadh na ngrást.

(Aistriúchán: Barry Tobin, Caerdydd)



Dwylo Fy Nhad

(Cymraeg / Welsh)

Daw deigryn i’m llygaid
Wrth feddwl am ddwylo fy nhad!
Dwylo ffarmwr yn frown ac yn arw
Fel y tir wedi’i chipio’n gras
Gan wynt main y gogledd.

Dwylo llydain fel rhofiau
Wedi’u lledu gan y tasgau blin.
Ond pan dorren nhw’r bara i ni
Fel rhai’r offeiriad ar adeg y Cymun
Arllwysai fy nhad fendithion yn lli.

(©: Rita Williams yn y llyfr, ‘Y Meistr’, gan Naïg Rozmor a Rita Williams, Brest 2000)



Les Mains de mon Père

(Français / French)

Les larmes me montent aux yeux
quand je pense aux mains de mon père
des mains de paysan,
rousses et crevassées,
comme la terre quand elle se fendille
Sous l’âpre vent du nord.

Elles étaient larges
comme des battoirs,
Déformées par les rudes labeurs
Mais quand elles nous coupaient le pain,
Comme celles du prêtre à l’offertoire,
Les mains de mon père
versaient des grâces.

©: Naïg Rozmor



Die Hände meines Vaters:

(Deutsch / German)

Das Wasser tritt mir in die augen
wenn ich an die Hände meines Vaters denke!
die Hände eines Bauern, braun und rissig
wie die Erde wenn sie verdorrt ist
vom scharfen Nordwind.

Breit waren die Hände wie Waschbretter
und geöffnet von den Schwerstarbeiten
aber wenn sie uns Brot schnitten,
waren sie wie die des Priesters beim Offertorium,
die Hände meines Vaters gaben und segneten.

©: Dr.Sabine Heinz, Berlin.



Le Mani de mio Padre

(Italiano / Italian)

Vengono le lacrime agli occhi
Se ricordo le mani di mio padre!
Le mani di un contadino, marroni e rugose
come la terra quando asciugata
a causa del dura vento nord.

Le mani di mio padre cosi ampie come lavatoi
Essi erano incrinate dal lavoro duro.
Ma se hanno tagliato il pane
Erano come quelle di un prete durante la messa,
Le mani di mio padre hanno dato e benedetto.

©: Manfred Wagner, Sulzbach, Germany.




Two Breton children reciting a short poem by Naïg Rozmor

Some stormswept lighthouses in Brittany



Stephen Tobin (1913 – 1988)

Nascanna don Ghaeilge; Links to Irish; Gorgysylltiadau i’r Wyddeleg

Gorgysylltiadau i’r Gymraeg / Nascanna don Bhreatnais / Links to Welsh

The Poetry of Things

Français / Frangeg / Fraincis / French

Deutsch / German / Yr Almaeneg

Holy Communion – an ancient Christian tradition

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