Dhá véarsaí as: Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire

by | March 24, 2022

Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire is an 18th century Irish-language wife’s lament, commemorating a husband murdered by an Anglo-Irish official.


Do bhuaileas go luath mo bhasa

is do bhaineas as na reathaibh

chomh maith is bhí sé agam,

go bhfuaras romham tú marbh

Cois toirín ísil aitinn,

gan Pápa gan easpag,

gan cléireach gan sagart

do léifeadh ort an tsailm,

ach seanbhean chríonna chaite

do leath ort binn dá fallaing –

do chuid fola leat ‘na sraithibh;

is níor fhanas le hí ghlanadh

ach í ól suas lem basaibh.


Mo ghrá thu go daingean!

Is érigh suas id sheasamh

is tar liom féin abhaile,

go gcuirfeam mairt á leagadh,

go nglaofaim ar chóisir fhairsing,

go mbeidh againn ceol a spreagadh,

go gcóireod duitse leaba

faoi bhairlíní geala,

faoi chuilteanna breátha breaca,

a bhainfidh asat alias

in ionad an fhuachta a ghlacais.


Dhá véarsaí as: Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire

                                                              Two verses of: A Grief for Art Ó Laoghaire


I clapped once and quickly

Then set to running madly

With all that I had in me

To find you dead before me.

Crumpled by a stump of gorse.

No Pope and no bishop,

No clergy, no priest

Poured prayer onto you, yet –

A wasted, wrinkled woman

Pasted her sad cloak’s edge

Where your blood-river rushed.

And I did not care to clean it

But gulped it from my palms.


My only steadfast love!

Stand up and stop your fooling.

Come home at once with me –

That I might fell an ox,

That I might summon much company,

That we might spark out in a song,

That I might find you in our bed;

There, under white and shining sheets,

Under soft and speckled quilts

I would raise your native heat

And banish that earlier frost.



The Crying of Art Ó Laoghaire

I clapped like jazz, up high they heard

the sound of running      cross the plain.

Insanely, I–      I feel insane;


running                                    running                                    running

still to find you                                cold before me


I know the plant you chose

a yellow unforgiving thing

& I just want to say:

nobody prayed for you, save me

An old woman –      not the maiden type –

dabbed at you with her coat. Sceptically.


running                                    running                                    running

still to find you                           cold before me


I drank from you, then as before.

It seemed quite natural in the warm 4 o’clock air.

Darling, you have played out on the road long enough.

It’s raining.


running                                    running                                    running

still to find you                           gone before me


Come back where there’s a fire on and we’ll watch a film,

an Ingmar Bergman if you like

& order takeout if you like

& let me fuck you warm.


Translation by Marianne Doherty. Art by Eloise Cooke.