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I Cannot Lie Here Anymore

by Nuala Ni Dhomnhaill

I cannot lie here anymore in your aroma-- with your pillowed mouth asnore, your idle hand across my hip not really caring whether I exist.

I’m not upset because you ignore me nor because our happy summer washes over me-- it’s not the bedside flowers that intoxicate but your body, your aroma, a blend of blood and earth.

I’ll get up from the bed and put on my clothes and leave with the carkeys from your fist stolen and drive to the city.

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At nine tomorrow you’ll get a call telling you where to go to pick up your car-- but I cannot lie here anymore where your aroma laps-- because I’ll fall in love you with, (perhaps)

Translated from the Irish by Michael Hartnett

From “Bitter Harvest: An Anthology of Contemporary Irish Verse,” selected and introduced by John Montague (Charles Scribner’s Sons: $16.95; 228 pp.). Montague writes in his introduction: “There is a sense in which Ireland has become a field of irreconcilable forces, from the craven refusal of the South to countenance abortion and divorce as necessary evils, to the religious racism of the North; it is hard to feel proud of either place. Kinsella’s self-inflicted journey into the self, the corpse count in Heaney, Longley, and Muldoon, suggest the atmosphere, swathes of darkness, as in my own Dead Kingdom (1984). But our deepest yearnings lie elsewhere. . . . The grotesqueries of Muldoon find a feminine counterpart in the extravagance of Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill’s Irish, which recalls a time when Irishwomen were more than equal. This exfoliating achievement in two languages, at least two traditions, works to redeem the systematic degradation of the whole island.” John Montague. Reprinted by permission of Charles Scribner’s Sons.


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