NA PÍOPAÍ CRÉAFÓIGE THE CLAY PIPES
Cathal Ó Searcaigh tr. Seamus Heaney
Ni chasfaidh tusa thart do chloigeann
agus an bás ag rolladh chugat mar an t-aigéan.

Coinneoidh tú ag stánadh air go seasta
agus é ag scuabadh chugat isteach ina spraisteacha geala
ó fhíor na síoraíochta.
Coinneoidh tú do chiall
agus do chéadfaí agus é ag siollfarnaigh
thar chladai d'inchinne
go dtí go mbeidh sé ar d'aithne
go huile agus go hiomlán
díreach mar a rinne tú agus tú i do thachrán
ar thránna Mhachaire Rabhartaigh
agus tonnta mara an Atlantaigh
ag sealbhú do cholainne.
Ach sula ndeachaigh do shaol ar neamhní
shroich tusa ciumhais an chladaigh.
Tarlóidh a mhacasamhail anseo.
Sroichfidh tú domhan na mbeo
tar éis dul i dtaithí an duibheagáin le d'aigne;
ach beidh séala an tsáile ort go deo,
beidh doimhneacht agat mar dhuine:
as baol an bháis tiocfaidh fírinne.

Ni thabharfainn de shamhail duit i mo dhán
ach iadsan i gcoillte Cholumbia
ar léigh mé fá dtaobh daofa sa leabharlann:
dream a chaitheann píopaí daite créafóige, píopaí
nár úsàideadh riamh lena ndéanamh
ach scaobóga créafóige
a baineadh i mbaol beatha
i ndúichí sean-namhad, gleann scáthach
timepallaithe le gaistí, gardaí agus saigheada nimhe.
Dar leo siúd a deir an t-alt tuairisce
nach bhfuil píopaí ar bith iomlán,
seachas na cinn a bhfuil baol
ag baint le soláthar a gcuid créafóige.
You won't be the one to turn away when death
rolls in towards you like the ocean.

You will hold to your steadfast gaze,
as it comes tiding in, all plash and glitter
from the rim of eternity.
You will keep your head.
You will come to your senses again as it
foams over the ridged beaches of your brain
and you will take it all in
and know it completely:
you will be a child again, out on the strand
of Magheraroarty, your body
abandoned altogether
to the lift of the Atlantic.
But before you went the whole way then away
into nothingness, you would touch the bottom.
And this will be what happens to you here:
You'll go through a black hole of initiation,
then reach the land of the living;
but the seal of the brine will be on you forever
and you'll have depth as a person:
You'll walk from danger of death into the truth.

Here is the best image I can find:
you are like the forest people of Columbia
I read about in the library,
a tribe who smoke clay pipes, coloured pipes
that used to have to be made from this one thing:
basketfuls of clay
scooped out in fatal danger
in enemy country, in a scaresome place
full of traps and guards and poisoned arrows.
According to this article, they believe
that the only fully perfect pipes
are ones made out of the clay
collected under such extreme conditions.

Copyright © Cathal Ó Searcaigh 2005; trans. copyright © Seamus Heaney 2005 - publ. Arc Publications


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