The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Head To Head   The Modern Antiquarian   General Discussion Forum Start a topic | Search
The Modern Antiquarian
Austin Clarke: The Blackbird of Derrycairn
963 messages
Select a forum:
This poem, by Irish poet Austin Clarke, is possibly my favourite poem. It's a liberal translation of an old gaelic song 'Lon Doire an Cairn', which loosely means 'Blackbird of the Cairn in the Grove' and in it the blackbird mourns the loss of the joyful and untamed pagan Ireland to the church of St. Patrick; the wild earth and the power of the sun forgotten and replaced by sombre, regimented prayer in dark cells. Seemed pretty subversive to me as a 'young fella' at a Christian Brothers School and possibly opened my eyes to enlightenment!

The original song contains the verse:
Doire an Chairn* is the wood back there
where the Fianna took their rest
So fine and fair its trees
they set the blackbird there

*Cairn of the Grove

It would be fascinating to find out which cairn the warriors of the Fianna took their rest in the old folklore!

Anyway, enjoy the poem and bathe your senses in the wonderful imagery :)

The Blackbird of Derrycairn

Stop, stop and listen for the bough top
Is whistling and the sun is brighter
Than God's own shadow in the cup now!
Forget the hour-bell. Mournful matins
Will sound, Patric, as well at nightfall.

Faintly through mist of broken water
Fionn heard my melody in Norway.
He found the forest track, he brought back
This beak to gild the branch and tell, there,
Why men must welcome in the daylight.

He loved the breeze that warns the black grouse,
The shouts of gillies in the morning
When packs are counted and the swans cloud
Loch Erne, but more than all those voices
My throat rejoicing from the hawthorn.

In little cells behind a cashel,
Patric, no handbell gives a glad sound.
But knowledge is found among the branches.
Listen! That song that shakes my feathers
Will thong the leather of your satchels.

Austin Clarke

Reply | with quote
Posted by CianMcLiam
4th October 2006ce

In reply to:

Megalithic Poems (Littlestone)

1 reply:

Re: The Blackbird of Derrycairn (Littlestone)

Messages in this topic: