I know why the ocean makes us drunk.
I know why fish are dark
and how small fish become another fish’s flesh.
I know how the stag’s skin is made
into a bag for mead.
I know how scales cover fish.
I know why the white swan’s feet are black.
I know about a four-sided spear; it gave me a terrible wound.
I know why spirits in heaven never break.
I know about four clods of dust,
but I do not know where they will drift,
although I know where the deer and wild boar wander.
And now I greet you, bard,
standing at the border
where bones are made of mist
and two waterfalls of wind meet.
The poem is a translation of a passage from a Welsh poem, ‘Angar Kyfyndawt’ / ‘The Hostile Confederacy’, which is attributed to the bard Taliesin and included in a medieval manuscript called The Book of Taliesin. I have used the version presented in Marged Haycock’s Legendary Poems From the Book of Taliesin.
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119:
Poetry Ireland Review Issue 119 includes new poems by 48 poets including Frank Ormsby, John Kinsella, Rachel Coventry, Aifric Mac Aodha, Gerald Dawe, Alice Miller and Claire Potter. Also included are translations by Richard Begbie and Kirsten Lodge, an essay on Bishop, Lowell, Heaney and Grennan by David McLoghlin, and reviews of Paul Muldoon, Paul Durcan, Sarah Clancy, Medbh McGuckian, Kate Tempest, George the Poet, and many more. The issue also features photography by Hugh O'Conor, Dominic Turner, Sheila McSweeney, Fergus Bourke and John Minihan.