Me on the pillion behind you,
my two arms tight around you,
the motor-bike going fast,
a hundred miles an hour, say,
right through the Phoenix Park,
swifter than deer,
more canty than kine,
at break-of-day or at noon,
with nobody else there
in the whole vast park,
the pair of us bright-naked,
and the bike moving fast
under the light of the sun
in the trees over our heads,
no noise at all from the engine –
only the small sound
of you and me breathing.
by Pearse Hutchinson | translated by the poet
From An Leabhar Mòr: The Great Book of Gaelic, © the author. Reproduced in An Leabhar Mòr by kind permission of the author, from The Soul That Kissed the Body (1990), The Gallery Press.
Pearse Hutchinson was born in Glasgow in 1927, and educated in Dublin. He is a poet in Irish and English and a translator from Catalan, Irish and Galacio-Portuguese. He has two Irish collections – Faoistin Bhacach and Le Cead na Gréine – and many English ones.
Featuring the work of more than 200 poets, calligraphers and artists, An Leabhar Mòr is a unique collection of Irish and Gaelic poetry, from the sixth century to the present day, and includes the earliest Gaelic poem in existence.
Poets include Iain Crichton Smith, Louis de Paor, Sorley MacLean, Aonghas Dubh MacNeacail, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Máirtín Ó Direáin. Each poem appears in the original Irish or Gaelic, accompanied by an English translation. The poems were selected by well-known poets Seamus Heaney, Hamish Henderson and Alastair MacLeod, and by the contributing poets themselves. One hundred artists (50 from each country) were specially commissioned to produce an original and individual work of art to complement each poem. They include Robert Ballagh, Steven Campbell, Shane Cullen, Alan Davie, Rita Duffy and Alasdair Gray.
The O’Brien Press is one of Ireland’s leading trade publishers. A wide selection of free teaching resources for this title, together with audio clips of some poets reading their work and musical renditions of some of the poems, is available from the website. This title and all O’Brien Press books are available to buy direct from the website or from Amazon.