Fiach na Súl / The Hunting of the Eyes





Fiach na Súl

Tá seanbhean ar ár mbóthar,
Tá sí ag siúl go mall,
Tá bata ina láimh aici,
féach go bhfuil sí dall.

Tá leanaí óg’ na sráide
Ag rith sall is anall,
Tá madraí ag pocléimneach,
Níl bac le seanbhean dall.

An colúr is an fháinleog,
An druid is na faoileáin,
Nach beo ‘tá gach neach sráide
Ach aon tseanbhean amháin.

Féach ar a coischéim bhacach,
Féach ar a súile dubh’,
Féach ar a bata faiteach,
Féach ar a cosa tiubh’.

Cad as a dtagann sise?
Cá bhfuil a triall go mall?
Cá bhfios cá bhfuil a tighse?
Cén fáth go bhfuil sí dall?

Go bhfóire Dia uirthi,
Go bhfóire ar an dall,
Go bhfóire ar na leanaí
Nach dtuigeann an focal ‘mall’.

Nuair a bhí sí ina cailín,
Nuair a bhí an domhan óg,
Bhí fear is dóchas aici,
Cleas, rinnce agus póg.

Ach tháinig am an ghátair,
Tháinig cogadh na saighdiúr,
Bhí raidhfil ag a muirnín,
Ní raibh aicise ach piliúr.

Scéal an bháis do chlos sí,
D’fhág a leaba de thrí léim,
Fuair sí corp a muirnín
I gclais an áir i gcéin.

Tá sluasad ins a’ láimh aici
Ag tochailt i gcré na gcnámh,
Tá sí ag faire aghaidh a muirnín,
Féach guairdeall na bhfiach ‘sna hard’.

Féach í anois ina codladh,
Ina codladh le solas na ré,
Fiach dubh atá ann ag alpadh
An dá shúil, deis is clé.

Do dhúisigh sí ar maidin,
Do dhúisigh sí faoi bhrón,
Do chonnaic poill in áit na súl
Is do scaoil a holagón.

Do scaoil a holagón don spéir
Is do réab an mhaidin chiúin,
Do scaoil an biorán ón a cléibh
Is do rop an radharc dá súil’.


Tá an dán seo bunaithe ar ‘An Seanfhear Dall’ (“Ní fios cé a chum”), sé véarsaí a fuair mé sa bhailiúchán, Favourite poems we learned in school as Gaeilge, Thomas F. Walsh, Eagarthóir, Cork, Mercier, 1994.




The Hunting of the Eyes

There is an old lady on our road,
She is walking slowly,
She has a stick in her hand,
Oh, look how she is blind.

The young children of the street
Are running to and fro,
Dogs are leaping about,
No one notices the blind old lady.

The pigeon and the swallow,
The starling and the gulls,
Isn’t everyone in the street full of life
Except for one old lady.

Look at her halting step,
Look at her black eyes,
Look at her anxious stick,
Look at her swollen legs.

Where does she come from?
Where is she heading so slow?
Who knows where her house is?
What is the reason that she is blind?

May God protect her,
May God protect the blind one,
May God protect the children
Who don’t understand the word ‘slow’.

When she was a girl,
When the world was young,
She had a man and hope,
Knockabout, dancing and a kiss.

But came the time of need,
Came the war of the soldiers,
Her darling had a rifle,
All she had was a pillow.

The news of death she heard,
She left her bed with three bounds,
She found her darling’s body
In the trench of slaughter far away.

She has a shovel in her hand
Digging in the clay of bones,
She is watching the face of her darling,
Look at the ravens wheeling on high.

Look at her now sleeping,
Sleeping by the light of the moon,
It’s a black raven that’s there devouring
The two eyes, right and left.

She let out her howl to the sky
And she shattered the morning quiet,
She released the pin from her bosom
And stabbed the sight from her eyes.


This poem is based on ‘An Seanfhear Dall’ (‘The Old Blind Man’ — “Author unknown”), six verses I found in the collection, Favourite poems we learned in school as Gaeilge, Thomas F. Walsh, Editor, Cork, Mercier, 1994.

Téacs & aistriúchán / text & translation: Barry Tobin, Meitheamh / June, 2000.



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