The lost Gaeltacht of Lower Manhattan

The yellow cabs tick downtown in the rain,                                                            sparked electrons in the bright-lit veins.

Siúl a rún ó. Ná siúl. Siúl.

Like grace notes the elevators rise and fall,                                                               staff notation on the sheet-glass walls.

Fuaim ag an macalla. Mo chúl le balla.

On the ferry to Station Island the turnstile clicks.                                                   Silence, a brooding absence above the Styx.

Ar bhruach linne ‘sea do lonnaigh mo chlann.

Badged, whitehaired, the ticket-collector comes around.                                         ‘Murphy’, I read — “Murchú’, I say, sea hound.

“Cad as duit féin?” fiafraíonn sé. “Corcaigh?

There’s nothing but money here, I’d sooner go home.”                                                   But I know he won’t, he sees it in my eyes.

Tóraíocht, deoraíocht, toradh luí beirte.

We turn to the statue, her torch of empty air.                                                            “Tell me,” he asks, “do they still speak Irish over there?”

for Peter Sirr

by Theo Dorgan, from Nine Bright Shiners (Dedalus Press 2014)

Theo Dorgan is a Cork-born poet, novelist and editor. His latest poetry collection Nine Bright Shiners has just been published by the Dedalus Press. He is a member of Aosdána.


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