Our prompt today for National Poetry Writing Month was to take an existing poem in a language other than our own and “translate it into English based on the look of the words and their sounds.” I chose an 18th century poem from the last of the great Irish bards and harpers, Turlough O’Carolan.

Below is a verse from his song, Faerie Queene (in the original Gaelic), my poem Turlough (based on the look of the words), and then finally a real translation.

Banríon Sí (Turlough O’Carolan)
Ciste nó stór go deó ní mholfad,
Ach imirt is ól is ceól do ghnáth;
Taoim ar baois fá mhnaoi ‘s mó ró-mhaith dhodlaim,
‘S nach truagh sin duine ar bith beó mar táim?

Turlough (Kay Winter)
Sister, don’t store or go down near the holding
Ah, the meaning is old and is clear, don’t go now.
Therein are boys, for more merry’s the moor, row heath dawdling
Snatch true sin, doesn’t he? Our birth, be our time?

Faerie Queene (Turlough O’Carolan, translated by Frank Osborne)
Treasure or store I would ne’er advise,
But play and drink and music to frequent;
Fits of folly for a woman mostly is my cause for excess drinking,
Is it not sad that one such as I exists?

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4 thoughts on “Turlough

  1. LeProsey says:

    This is brilliant and a lovely way to create something new.

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