Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill



            Looking at a Man


Take them off,
One by one,
Trousers and worn
Grey singlet,
Put your glasses
On the shelf
Alongside comb
And handkerchief.

And walk across the floor
On my right hand
To the foot of the bed
Until I can run
My eyes all down
The dark valleys of your skin,
Let them stroke
The wonderful bones.

And don't be impatient
With me tonight,
Don't prompt me, 'How shall we do it?'
Relax, understand
How I can hardly, faced
With the naked evidence,
Satisfy my eyes
Or close them, even to touch

Man, so long
In your limbs,
So broad-shouldered,
Fine-waisted,
Fair, masculine
From hair to toenails
And your sex
Perfect in its place,

You're the one they should praise
In public places,
The one should be handed
Trophies and cheques.
You're the model
For the artist's hand,
Standing before me
In your skin and a wristwatch.


                                          --Irish; trans. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin


Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, Irish, trans. Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Pharaoh's Daughter, Wake Forest University Press, 1990.