Mo Bheirt ar Altram
le Aodh Ó Domhnaill

This poem of Aodh's, celebrating his children, was read at his funeral service in Mount Jerome on 29 January 2018. It was first published in 1993 in his third volume of poetry entitled Is Araile.

Given its huge emotional impact at the funeral and the attendance by many with little or no Irish I was asked if I would do a translation.

The effort below is a first attempt. The poem is complex with some word play in Irish which I have not attempted to replicate. I have just tried to keep something of the rythm of the poem.




Chan fhuil siad ach ar iasacht
Mo mhac is m'iníon ghleoite
Mar tháinig siad á neamhchead
Is d'fhanadar gan iarraidh
Faoi gheasa-ghad mo mhóide
Go mbéarfainn iad chun scaoilte
Gan breathnú ar a gceannaithe
Gan meas ar thuismitheoirí

Chan fhuil siad ach ar lóistín
Mo dhís a bhuail le giall-chlann
Is tuigeadh dóibh le mórghean
Gur malairt bhroinne a ngin-tigh
Is scaipeadar an rún seo
le cairde is le mórtas
Gur roghnaíodh iad go cúramach
Thar chinn a leanbhchomharsan

Chan fhuil siad ach ar sealaíocht
Mo ruamhhac is mo Nóirín
Idir bachlannach a gcéadmham
Is tamaill linn ar iall ghearr
Idir rialacha a n-oiliúna
Is dúchas mar ar póraíodh
Idir comhrá caoin in aiméarrthráth
Is siúl amach na dóirse

Chan fhuil siad ach ar fán uainn
Mo Niall is m'iníon órga -
Is dual do chác an imeacht sin
As altranas nó fuil-theach

Ach beireann siúd chun bealaigh leo
Le cumha ár gciniúna
Grá gearrtha to leathchothorm
Idir muidne is taibhsitheoirí


Aodh Ó Domhnaill
My Fostered Pair

They've only come on loan to us
My son and lovely daughter
They've come here lacking their consent
But stayed without the asking
They come with my firm promise
To raise them until grown up
Unheeding of appearance
Or how they treated both of us

They only came to lodge here
My two beloved strangers
They were told with lots of loving
Another womb had borne them
They both boasted this secret
To all and sundry proudly
That they were chosen carefully
Above their fellow children

They only came to stay awhile
My fair son and my Nóirín
From the arms of their first mother
To time here on a tight leash
With rules for their instruction
And instinct from their breeding
With friendly conversation
Or storming out the doorway

But now they're gone aroving
My Niall and golden daughter
As every youngster has to do
Whether raised at home or fostered

And finally they leave the nest
How sad is now our fate
For love is now unequally split
Twixt us and parted shadows


translation: Pól Ó Duibhir



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