Dairena Ní Chinnéide ~ “The Day the Blaskets were Nicked” and other poems

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.

 

Death Notice

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.

 

Fógra Báis

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.

 

Soul journey

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

critical showers

wintry unease

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.

 

Aistear anama

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

ceathanna cáinteacha

míshocracht gheimhriúil

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.

 

Wellness

 

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.

 

Folláine

 

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

treoraithe uaisle

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

  1. Steve O'Connor says:

    Beautiful poems by Dairena Ní Chinnéide and music by Steve Cooney. I enjoyed hearing the poems in Irish, too.

  2. Michael O Callaghan says:

    Dairena, 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.

  3. Jeannie Sargent Judge says:

    Thank you for sharing these treasures! The recordings with music are exquisite!

  4. Malcolm Sharps says:

    What 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.

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