An Taoide / The Tide

An Taoide

Mise an taoide a bhíonn go síoraí
Ag trá’s ag líonadh, ag trá’s ag líonadh,
‘S tá amadáin a shíleann, an tráth a chíd mé
Ag deireadh m’aistir,
Gan aon chor asam,
Go bhfuilim cloíte
‘S ná fillfead choíche,
Ach ní bhímse ag ag leigint scíthe.

Tuig é seo anois, a Arastatail –
‘Sé m’athairse Rí na bhFlaitheas,
An té a chruthaigh gach rud,
A choinníonn faoi smacht mé,
‘S ná tabharfadh cead dom
Dul thar a mharc san
Isteach nó amach dom,
Nó dom féin ba mheasa
Mar an fear ‘s an bhean úd
I nGairdín Parrathais.

Mo mháthair bhocht, ise an fharraige
A ghníonn liom peataireacht,
A thugann seans dom imeacht liom scaitheamh beag,
Ach a thairrigíonn gan mhoill ar ais mé
Ag deol na gcíoch mbog slíom ‘na brollach san.

Is mór an scalladh dom an ghrian nuair a thaithneann sí,
A shúnn an bheatha asam mar bhia do scamallaibh,
Ach ar ais chugam tagann sí
Is fuílleach fairis sin
Ó aibhne palcaithe oíche chlagarnaigh
Nó sneachta cascartha
Ar shléibhte ‘s garbhchnoic.

Mo chomharsa an ghaoth –
An é gur gealt í?
‘Na leon aréir,
Inné ‘na leanbh,
Go séimh am’ phógadh
Le fraoch am’ thachtadh,
Nó ag cur fuil sróin’ liom
In éadan faille.

Tá peataí agamsa – éisc is míolta,
Cuid desna héisc is plaoisc ‘na dtimpeall,
Á gcosaint ar éin is daoscar daoine
Ná tugann dóibh faoiseamh lae ná oíche,
Ach á sciobadh ‘na slaodaibh
‘S gan éinne timpeall
A stopfadh an léirscrios
Nó a agródh díoltas.

Beirt leannán atá am’ mhealladh
Phoebus gléineach is fear na gealaí,
Is táim mar striapach idir dhá ghaige
‘S an dís am’ tharraingt eatarthu.

An duine, faraoir, ní rud le maíomh é,
Cuireann a dhríodar féin i bpíopaí
‘S is isteach in mo bhéal an bréantas scaoileann,
Ábhar maraithe céadta
‘S péin do mhílte,
Ábhar scapaithe síl gach aon aicíde.

Téanam a ghaoth is déanfam branar,
Tairrig le Phoebus, a fhir na gealaí,
Múinfimidne ceacht don ghadaí,
Déanfam ár ar lucht mo chreachta,
Buailfeam, leagfam, brisfeam, bascfam,
Réabfam, stracfam, báfam, greadfam,
Gluaisfimis, ní fios cá stadfam;
Ach éistíg! Éistíg! Tá Mam ag screadaigh!

Ó, a Rí na bhFlaitheas,
Cá bhfuil do mharcsa?

The Tide

I am the tide that goes on forever,
Ebbing and flowing, ebbing and flowing.
There are fools who suppose, when they see me
At the end of my road
Not making a stir,
That I am done,
That I will never return,
But I am only resting.

Now, Aristotle, understand this –
My father is the King of Heaven,
He made all things
He keeps me under control,
He will not allow me
To trespass his mark
As I go in, as I go out,
Or it will be the worse for me,
As it was for that man and that woman
In the Garden of Paradise.

My poor mother, she is the sea herself,
And she fondles me
And she lets me go off for a while,
But she draws me back without delay
To suckle the soft smooth teats of her breast.

I get badly scorched by the shining sun
Which sucks the life out of me as food for clouds,
But she comes back to me
With much more besides
From bursting rivers on nights of torrents
Or from mangled snow
On mountains and jagged peaks.

My neighbour the wind –
Is she really a lunatic?
Last night she was a lion,
Yesterday she was a child,
Gently she kisses me,
Then in fury chokes me
Or gives me a bloody nose
Against a cliff face.

I have little pets – fishes and other creatures,
Some of the fishes have shells around them
To protect them from birds and the human scum
Who give them no peace by day or by night,
But snatch them in droves
And there’s no one around
To stop the destruction
Or to call for vengeance.

I have two lovers who woo me,
Bright Phoebus and the man in the moon,
I am like a prostitute between two dandies
As each of them tries to drag me away.

People, alas, are nothing to boast about,
They put their own dirt in pipes
And release the filth into my mouth,
Stuff to kill hundreds
Stuff to cause pain to thousands,
Stuff to spread the seeds of every disease.

Let us go, wind, and and let us wreak havoc,
Pull with Phoebus, you man in the moon,
Let us teach the thief a lesson,
Let us bring slaughter to my despoilers,
Let’s hit, let’s level, let’s break, let’s crush,
Let’s smash, let’s tear, let’s drown, let’s pound:
So let’s get moving, who knows where we’ll stop;
But listen! Listen!
Mammy is screaming!

Oh, you King of Heaven,
Where is your mark?

********************

©: From the book of poems in Irish, ‘Rian na Laincisí’ (‘The Mark of the Fetters’), by Domhnall Óg Ó Ceocháin, Cork, Ireland and published by Clódhanna Teoranta, Dublin, in 1978.

Like the poems on this site by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and by Friedrich von Schiller, this also expresses alarm at the increasing destruction of the seas and marine life.

The Editor is grateful to the author and to his publishers for permission to translate and publish this poem.

Translation : Wales Famine Forum.

First published in The Green Dragon No 5, Winter 1997

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