Valparaiso by Pádraig de Brún was actually written in English originally.
It was called ‘The Ship’ by Oliver St John Gogarty before de Brún translated it into Irish. Valparaiso is still popular today and was voted inside Ireland’s 100 favourite poems by readers of the Irish Times.
Tháinig long ó Valparaiso,
Scaoileadh téad a seol sa chuan,
Chuir a hainm dom i gcuimhne
Ríocht na Gréine, Tír na mBua.
“Gluais,’ ar sí, ‘ar thuras fada,
Liom ó scamall is ó cheo,
Tá fé shleasaibh gorm Andes
Cathair scáfar, glé mar sheod.”
Bhíos óg is ní imeoinnse,
Am an dóchais, tus mo shaoil,
Chreideas fós go raibh i ndán dom
Iontaisí na ndán ‘s na scéal.
Ghluais an long thar lintibh mara,
Fad ó shin is a crann mar ór,
Scríobh a scéal ar phár na hoíche,
Ard i rian na réaltean mór.
Fillfidh sí aris chugam áfach;
Chífead cathair bhán fén sléibh,
Le hais mara na síochána –
Creidim fós beagnach, a Dhé.
A ship arrived from Valparaiso,
Dropped its anchor in the bay,
Her name reminded me of kingdoms,
Sunlit countries far away.
Come along with me she whispered,
Far from cloud and mist for you’ll,
Find beneath the Andes Mountains,
An awesome city – bright as a jewel.
But I was young and would not wander,
With hope and youth I chose instead,
The promises of verse and fable,
From the wondrous books I read.
The ship sailed off into the vapour,
Shining like gold its mast so bright,
It wrote its story on the parcment,
High amidst the stars that night.
She will return to me, however,
The white city, I still conceive,
That by the sea of peace eternal,
I too shall be, if I believe.
All images copyright Ireland Calling