An Tiona

An Tiona
Nuair a bha mi sa bhun-sgoil
fhuair mi tiona sleamhainn tana
far an cuirinn m’ fhaclan
sgrìobhte air sgoltaidhean pàipeir.

Chan eil cuimhne agam air inneach
ach air cho doirbh ’s a bha e fhosgladh
gun ainmearean ’s gnìomhairean a’ leum
a-mach às mar bhradain à lìon – 

iorghail bhalbh mo chànain
a’ snàmh gu sìorraidh gu dachaigh chaillte.
Nam cheann tha an tiona air meirgeadh,
’s cha tèid fhosgladh gun bhristeadh saillte.
Peter Mackay

Pàdraig MacAoidh, from Gu Leòr / Galore (Acair, 2015), by permission of the poet.

the tin
when I was in primary school
I got myself this little flat tin
where I’d stash my words
writ on splinters of paper

what I remember is not the design
but how difficult it was to open
without names and deeds leaping out
like salmon from a net 

the dumb babble of my languages
forever swimming towards their lost ground
the tin in my head rusting not to be opened
without breaking its crust of salt.
Ciaran Carson, translation of Pàdraig MacAoidh, ‘An Tiona’, from Gu Leòr / Galore (Acair, 2015), by permission of the poet.
Peter Mackay

Pàdraig MacAoidh / Peter Mackay is originally from the Isle of Lewis; he lectures in the School of English at the University of St Andrews, and has written widely on Scottish and Irish poetry.

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