A Runaway Cow


I'd say he'd had too much
of the desolation that trickles down
through the glens and the hillocks
steadily as a hearse;
of the lifeless villages in the foothills
as bare of young folk as of soil;
of the old codgers, the hummock-blasters
who turned the peat into good red earth
and who deafened him pink year after year
with their talk of the grand sods of the old days;

of the little white bungalows, attractive
as dandruff in the hairy armpit of the Glen;
of the young people trapped in their destinies
like caged animals out of touch with their instinct;
of the Three Sorrows of Storytelling
in the pity of unemployment, of low morale,
and of the remoteness and narrow-mindedness
of both sides of the Glen;
of the fine young things down in Rory's
who woke the man in him
but wouldn't give a curse for his attentions;

of clan boundaries, of old tribal ditches,
of pissing his frustration against the solid walls
race and religion built round him.
He'd had too much of being stuck in the Glen
and with a leap like a runaway cow's one spring morning
he cleared the walls and hightailed away.


                        Irish; trans. Patrick Crotty


Cathal O Searcaigh, Irish, trans. Patrick Crotty, Homecoming/An Bealach 'na Bhaile, Clo Iar-Chonnachta Teo, 1993.