First verse of a Sean O’Riordain poem I studied for my Leaving Cert. The rhythms are hypnotic (although not in my workmanlike translation below).

    Mar sceach faoi thaitint na gaoithe
    Ta m’anam a lubadh anocht
    Thiar na thoir, nil didean
    Mar is poll im cheann gach smaoineamh
    Trina luann an ghaoth gan sos

    Like a tree urged by the wind
    My soul sways tonight
    West nor east, there is no shelter
    For each thought is a hole in my mind
    Through which the wind blows ceaselessly.)

Whenever someone asks me if Irish is really a dialect of English, I puff out my chest and let fly with the strange vowels and gutteral consonants of that poem. Depending on the day, I mean it, too.

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