Poem & Tanka

“Gan Teideal” (Untitled) is an Irish-language transcreation of a poem by Marius Mason, who describes himself as a transgender anarchist, environmentalist, and animal-rights prisoner. His activities were reported to the authorities by his husband, and he was sentenced to twenty-two years’ imprisonment.

Marius—a father of two—who has worked as a musician, gardener, writer, and volunteer for a free herbal-healthcare collective, did not approve of government-backed research on genetically modified moth-resistant potatoes and took the law into his own hands.

You may write to Marius (tinyurl.com/4ktywbmd). There are many constrictions, however. For instance, the envelope must be white, your message must be in English, no newspaper cuttings enclosed, and so on and so forth.

Gan Teideal

téigh ag longadán ar meisce i dtreo na fírinne
is é sin na ciorcail i mbís dheirbhíseach
ag casadh, ag druidim i dtreo an láir
ag síneadh amach chun breith ar an ollphictiúr
faoi bhun na spéire réaltógaí, dubhaithe ach fós
faoi bhrat réaltaí
cén lámh a chorraigh an t-anord seo ina áilleacht?
an uile phonc suntasach, uathúil, neamhspleách
ach le chéile cuirid a dtine féin leis an iomlán
agus é go léir chomh mór sin thar ár n-eolas
iontas chomh fairsing leis an spéir féin
is é fréamhaithe sa Domhan, méara mo chos do mo dhaingniú, is mé ag péacadh chun an solas seo a bhrath
le lámha a shantaíonn cruth eile
is crann mé, an droichead eadrainn,
agus buaileann an oscailt súl seo in aghaidh na brastinte
réalta eireabaill ag scipeáil ar chiumhais an atmaisféir
agus is ann Di i mbloghanna
ionamsa agus lasmuigh díom
labhraíonn Sí i bhfriotal réaltógach
is tú an uile ní is neamhní thú
i do mhianta agus id’ choimhthíos
bí Liomsa
agus beimidne

stagger drunkenly towards truth
meaning circles in a dervish spiral
spinning, coming closer to the centre
reaching out to grasp the bigger picture
beneath this night sky, blackened and still
blanketed with stars
what hand moved this chaos into beauty?
each point singular, unique and self-sufficient
but collectively, contributing its own fire unto the
and all of it so huge past understanding
a wonderment of firmament proportions
rooted in the Earth, my toes dig in to hold me
stretching up to touch this light
with hands aching to be more
I am a tree, the bridge between,
And revelation slams into perception
like a comet skipping on the edge of atmosphere
And She is there in pieces
within me and without me
She speaks to me in stars
you are the everything and nothing
of your own desire and detachment
be with Me
and We
are Beautiful.


Cotton Pickers

A tanka (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) in Irish and English by Gabriel Rosenstock in response to Winslow Homer’s masterpiece, The Cotton Pickers.

táimid inár ndaoir
saothraímis dúinn féinig
ní do dhaoine eile
cathain a bheidh saoirse ann
is gach éinne ar comhchéim?

why work for others
when we could work for ourselves
humans, together
when will our slavery end
when will we all be equal?