Oíche Nollag na mBan by Seán Ó Ríordáin was voted just inside Ireland’s 100 favourite poems by readers of the Irish Times in 1999.
The poem was translated into English by Sarah Lundberg and Oran Ryan. The English translation can be found at the bottom of this page.
Oíche Nollag na mBan
Bhí fuinneamh sa stoirm a éalaigh aréir.
Aréir oíche Nollaig na mBan,
As gealt-teach iargúlta ‘tá laistiar den ré
Is do scréach tríd an spéir chughainn ‘na gealt
Gur ghíosc geataí comharsan mar ghogallach gé,
Gur bhúir abhainn slaghdánach mar tharbh,
Gur mhúchadh mo choinneal mar bhuille ar mo bhéal
A las ‘na splanc obann an fhearg.
Ba mhaith liom go dtiocfadh an stoirm sin féin
An oíche go mbeadsa go lag
Ag filleadh abhaile ó rince an tsaoil
Is solas an pheaca ag dul as,
Go líonfaí gach neomat le liúirigh ón spéir,
Go ndéanfaí den domhan scuaine scread,
Is ná cloisfinn an ciúnas ag gluaiseacht fám dhéin,
Ná inneall an ghluaisteáin ag stad.
The Night Of Women’s Christmas
There was fury in the storm that came last night
last night, the Christmas of Women;
as if released from a distant bedlam
a lunatic shriek through the sky;
rattling against the gate like the gaggling of geese
roaring up the river like a bellowing bull
dousing my candle like a blow upon my mouth :-
an unexpected spark for anger .
I hope such a storm will come to me
The night I begin to die
As I return home from the dance of life
with the light of this life failing,
so every moment might be filled with cries from the sky,
transforming the world into a chorus of screams,
so I would not hear the silence moving toward me
or feel the engine that moves me stop.
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