The winner of our “Creative Corona” poetry translation competition is Martina Ní Mheachair for her English version of Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhaigh’s poem, “einín/francach”. She is a UCC alumna and is currently a research fellow at the Sabhal Mòr Ostaig University in Scotland.
The competition attracted 40 entries and Ailbhe, who adjudicated the competition, was very impressed by the high standard of the translations. “It was a pleasure to read the various interpretations of “einín/francach,” she said.
But what impressed her about “bird/rat”, the winning entry, was its handling of competing elements. “A translator of poetry has to wrestle with content, tone and form, all the while wavering between faithfulness and flair. While many of the entries were strong on fidelity or ingenuity, the winning translation balanced these elements with commendable elegance.”
Dr Ní Mheachair will win E100 and a copy of Ailbhe’s latest volume, a bilingual collection entitled, The Coast Road, from Gallery Press.
Two runner-up places were also awarded to Laura Ryan and Joanne McCarthy, who will each receive copies of Ailbhe’s book.
The competition was run in conjunction with “Creative Corona” an online platform that ran throughout April on this site – http://creativewritingucc.com/www/creative-corona-day-1/ – with selected writings from students, graduates and writers associated with the MA in Creative Writing at UCC.
Here is the winning entry:
bird / rat
starting in the bush is that a bird – or a rat
a staycation or internment being stuck in the flat
will the sea continue to ebb and to flow
will we ever see the summer’s glow
had you best cover your face to show compassion
is it true that face masks are now the fashion
do you listen to buds as they bloom
are you obsessed with the latest from the newsroom
have you brought with you your ration book
will you share with me what you cook
your next-door neighbours, are you able to say
if they’re flouting regulations night and day
avoid the old, beware your nephew and niece,
careful now of this fragile peace
dancing at home to blinding lights
numbers of patients reaching new heights
have you Insta‘d your sourdough with a grin
and practised yoga for a personal win
does the anxiety manifest as a weight in your chest
are you ready for the disaster with which we’ll contest
was Chicken Licken right after all
or is the sky not going to fall
– o creature, o man, will you be my downfall?
Martina Ní Mheachair
éinín / francach
an éinín atá ag bíogadh sa sceach – nó francach
an staycation é seo nó tamall sa charcair
an leanfaidh an mhuir ag tuilleadh is ag trá
an gcífear go brách an samhradh bán
an fearr do ghnúis a chumhdach feasta
an bhfuil masc aghaidhe anois sa bhfaisean
an éisteann tú le bachlóga ag péacadh
bhfuilir gafa le bratbhuamáil an nuachta
ar thug tú leat do leabhar ciondála
an roinnfeá liom sciar den cháca
an dream béal dorais, ar thugais faoi deara
iad ag sárú rialacha oíche is maidin
seachain seanóirí agus seachain aosánaigh
fainic anois an tsíocháin bhradach
sáil agus barraicín timpeall an tí
bardaí an ospidéil ag cur thar maoil
bhfuil pictiúr den sourdough in airde ar Insta
is do chleachtas ióga ina údar gaisce
an luíonn an imní mar ualach ar d’ucht
bhfuilir ullamh don tubaiste atá le teacht
an raibh an ceart ag cearc an phrompa
nó an bhfanfaidh an spéir in airde tamall eile
– agus an baol dom thú a chréatúir, a dhuine?
Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh