The Melancholic Woman Speaks of the Fairies

by Cathal Ó Searcaigh

Original Title:
 Bean a bhfuil an Galar Dubhach Uirthi ag Caint ar na Sióga

In the terrible mountainy loneliness
between Mín na nGall
and Mín na Craoibhe
over from the pathway to the bog
all the way up Malaidh Dhubh
as far as the waters known as Loch na Cuiscrí
there’s a forbidden place where airy gentry reside
in all their finery.

But since they have lost their sway
in territories above ground
they have gone from the sight of men
live out their eternal days in obscurity
between two shades of light
in hideaways
and nooks among whispering lakelets.

And sometimes a fairy blast
will come along and, skipping over its head,
carry with it tufts of heather
down from that yellowing place that leads to Fána Buí
and the excitable fairy folk make a headlong dash
straight out of their enchanted fort:
God bless me now and save me for ever
and let them not sweep me away.

In this hollow where I live
Between Mín na nGall and Mín na Craoibhe
All the townlands are blighted, each one,
enclosed fields break out in a rash
trees cough a choking sound
stone walls creak with arthritis
houses have lost their memory.

Last night as I walked in darkness
in search of some comfort along the way
I lost my bearings
having trodden on the sod of confusion
between Mín na nGall and Mín na Craoibhe.
I immediately put my coat on back to front
and when I got to Loch na Cuiscrí
I refused mouth-watering food
from a radiant young man.

©The original poem in Aimsir Ársa (Arlen House 2013)