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SUMMER TRANSLATED BY SEAMUS HEANEY Early summer, loveliest season, World is being coloured in. While daylight lasts on the horizon, Sudden, throaty blackbirds sing. The dusty-coloured cuckoo cuckoos. “Welcome, summer,” ’s what he says. Winter’s unimaginable. The wood’s a wicker-work of boughs. Summer, and the river’s shallow, Thirsty horses nose at pools. Heather spreads on bogland pillows. White bog-cotton droops in bloom. The deer’s heart skips a beat; he startles. The sea’s tide fills, it rests, it runs. Season of the drowsy ocean. Tufts of yellow-blossoming whins. Weak-kneed bees have gathered strength To carry in loads reaped from flowers. Mud wattles the hill-cattle’s flanks. Ant-swarms shine and feed for hours. “SUMMER,” TRANSLATIONS BY SEAMUS HEANEY 88 “SUMMER,” TRANSLATIONS BY SEAMUS HEANEY 89 The forest is a wind-thrummed harp. The tide fills now: now holds its breath. Hillsides are ablaze with colour. Heat haze veils the brimming lough. The corncrake crakes away, a bard True to his form; the cold mare’s tail Of a waterfall falls to the pool; Rushes rustle, lake is still. Swallows swerve and flicker up. Music starts behind the mountain. There’s moss, a lush growth underfoot. Spongy marshland glugs and stutters. Bogbanks shine like ravens’ wings. The cuckoo keeps on calling welcome. The speckled fish jumps; and the strong Warrior is up and running. Man’s in his prime; the maiden proud -ly budding into womanhood. The wood stands tall; there’s perfect calm In treetops, on the level plain. You’ve this mad urge to gallop horses; Excitement stirs in gathered crowds. Sun sends an arrow-shower of light Into the ground, turns gold to iris. A little, jumpy, chirpy fellow Hits the highest note there is; The lark sings out his clear tidings. Summer, shimmer, perfect days. “SUMMER,” TRANSLATIONS BY SEAMUS HEANEY 90 MAY-DAY* Anonymous, ninth century Cétemain, cain cucht, rée ro· saír rann; canait luin laíd láin día laí grían gaí ngann. Gairid cuí chrúaid den; is fo-chen sam saír: suidid síne serb i mbi cerb caill chraíb. Cerbaid sam súaill sruth; saigid graig lúath linn; lethaid fota fraích; for-beir folt fann finn. Fúapair sceith scell scíach; im-reith réid rían rith; cuirithir sál súan; tuigithir bláth bith. Berait beich (bec nert) bert bonn bochtai bláith; berid slabrai slíab: feraid saidbir sáith. Seinnid caille céol; con-greinn séol síd slán; síatair denn do dinn, dé do loch linn lán. Labraid tragna trén; canaid ess n-ard n-úag· fáilti do thoinn té; táinic lúachra lúad. *Reprinted from Early Irish Lyrics: Eighth to Twelfth Century, ed. Gerard Murphy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962 [1956]), 156–59. “SUMMER,” TRANSLATIONS BY SEAMUS HEANEY 91 Lengait fainnle fúas; im-said crúas cíuil cróich for-beir mes máeth méth; innisid loth loíth. Leig lath fath feig; fert ar-cain cuí chrúaid; cuirithir brecc bedc; is balc gedc láith lúaith. Losaid foirbríg fer; óg a mbúaid mbreg mbras; caín cach caille clár; caín cach mag már mas. Melldach rée rann: ro fáith gaíth garb gam; gel ros; toirthech tonn; oll síd; subach sam. Suidigthir íall én i n-íath i mbí ben; búirithir gort glas i mbí bras glas gel. Greit mer, imrim ech; im-sernar sreth slúaig; ro· sáer rath geilestar: ór eilestar úaid. Ecal aird fer fann; fedil fochain ucht; uisse ima-cain ‘Cétemain, cain cucht!’ ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1550-5162
Print ISSN
0013-2683
Pages
pp. 88-91
Launched on MUSE
2017-08-31
Open Access
No
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