Cill Chais by Aodhagán Ó Rathaille is a poem about the death of Margaret Butler, Viscountess Iveagh.
The poem is written in Irish but was translated into English by the Irish poet Thomas Kinsella.
Cad a dhéanfaimid feasta gan adhmad?
Tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár;
níl trácht ar Chill Cháis ná ar a teaghlach
is ní bainfear a cling go bráth.
An áit úd a gcónaiodh an deighbhean
fuair gradam is meidhir thar mhnáibh,
bhíodh iarlaí ag tarraingt tar toinn ann
is an t-aifreann binn á rá.
Ní chluinim fuiaim lachan ná gé ann,
ná fiolar ag éamh sois cuain,
ná fiú na mbeacha chun saothair
thabharfadh mil agus céir don tslua.
Níl ceol binn milis na n-éan ann
le hamharc an lae a dhul uainn,
náan chuaichín i mbarra na ngéag ann,
ós í chuirfeadh an saol chun suain.
Tá ceo ag titim ar chraobha ann
ná glanann le gréin ná lá,
tá smúid ag titim ón spéir ann
is a cuid uisce g léir ag trá.
Níl coll, níl cuileann, níl caor ann,
ach clocha is maolchlocháin,
páirc an chomhair gan chraobh ann
is d’ imigh an géim chun fáin.
Anois mar bharr ar gach míghreanni,
chuaigh prionsa na nGael thar sáil
anonn le hainnir na míne
fuair gradam sa bhFrainc is sa Spáinn.
Anois tá a cuallacht á caoineadh,
gheibbeadh airgead buí agus bán;
‘s í ná tógladh sillbh na ndaoine,
ach cara na bhfíorbhochtán.
Aicim ar Mhuire is ar Iosa
go dtaga sí arís chughainn slán,
go mbeidh rincí fada ag gabháil timpeall,
ceol veidhlín is tinte cnámh;
go dtógtar an baile seo ár sinsear
Cill Chais bhreá arís go hard,
is go bráth nó go dtiocfaidh an díle
ná feictear é arís ar lár.
Lament for Kilcash
Now what will we do for timber,
with the last of the woods laid low?
There’s no talk of Kilcash or its household
and its bell will be struck no more.
That dwelling where lived the good lady
most honored and joyous of women
–earls made their way over wave there
and the sweet mass once was said.
Ducks’ voices nor geese do I hear there,
nor the eagle’s cry over the bay,
nor even the bees at their labour bringing honey and wax to us all.
No birdsong there, sweet and delightful,
as we watch the sun go down,
nor cukoo on top of the branches
settling the world to rest.
A mist on the boughs is descending
neither daylight nor sun can clear.
A stain from the sky is descending
and the waters receding away.
No hazel nor holly nor berry
but boulders and bear stone heaps,
not a branch in our neighbourly haggard,
and the game all scattered and gone.
Then a climax to all our misery;
the prince of the Gael is abroad
oversea with that maiden of mildness
who found honour in France and Spain.
Her company now must lament her,
who would give yellow money and white
–she who’d never take land from the people
but was friend to the truly poor.
I call upon Mary and Jesus
to send her safe home again:
dances we’ll have in long circles
and bon-fires and violin music;
that Kilcash, the townland of our fathers;
will rise handsome on high once more
and till doom – or the deluge – returns –
we’ll see it no more laid low.
All images copyright Ireland Calling
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