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 im llygaid
Wrth feddwl am ddwylo fy nhad!
Dwylo ffarmwr yn frown ac yn arw
Fel y tir wedii chipion gras
Gan wynt main y gogledd.
Dwylo llydain fel rhofiau
Wediu lledu gan y tasgau blin.
Ond pan dorren nhwr bara i ni
Fel rhair offeiriad ar adeg y Cymun
Arllwysai fy nhad fendithion yn lli.
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.
Vengono le lacrime agli occhi
Se ricordo le mani di mio padre!
Le mani di un contadino, marroni e rugose
come la terra quando é 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.