Éan Fear agus Capall – Bird, Man, and Horse

Éan Fear agus Capall

le Michael Davitt

Éan ar ghéag
ag meánlae
ina aonar
ag moladh na maidne
a bhí imithe
is nach raibh.

Fear i dtigh tábhairne
ag meánoíche
ólta le huaigneas
is ag canadh
sa chiúnas
do chluasa adhmaid.

Capall bradach i bpáirc
ag méanfach
is ag déanamh seite
le púcaí
a saolaíodh
an oíche roimhe sin:

ba chuma leis
ach comhluadar
a beith aige.

Bird, Man, and Horse

by Michael Davitt

A bird on a branch
at midday
is praising the morning
that is gone
not coming.

A man on his way to the pub
at midnight
to drink alone
is chanting
to the wooden ears.

A loose horse in the field
is making its
hiding place
from its life
the night before:

it doesn’t matter
what company
one keeps.

I think there may be a pun on púcaí, concealment, with púca, the hobgoblin that often takes the shape of a horse that gives its captor a wild ride (and which gave its name to, or shares its name’s origins in some misty Indo-European past with, Shakespeare’s Puck). That the horse is bradach (there’s an idiom, bó bradach, for a “trespassing” cow, so I’ve rendered this horse as “loose”) might back it up, at least after a couple pints.

I’ve probably missed an idiom with cluasa adhmaid, wooden ears, but though my dictionary gives me many interesting phrases having to do with ears (a cup’s handle is cluas cupáin, which I may try to introduce into English), it doesn’t give me much direction on how to handle wooden ones.

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