Women's Museum of Ireland

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  • 6 January '14

    Oiche Nollaig na mBan

    Oiche Nollaig na mBan (‘The Night Of Women’s Christmas’), Sean O'Riordain (1916-77)

    There was fury in the storm that came last night last night,
    The night of the Christmas of Women;
    It came as if released from a distant bedlam
    A lunatic shriek howling through the sky;
    Rattling against the gate like the gaggling of geese
    Roaring up the river like a bellowing bull
    Dousing my candle like a blow upon my mouth :-
    An unexpected spark for anger

    I hope such a storm will come to me
    The night I begin to die
    As I return home from the dance of life
    With the light of this life sputtering out,
    So every moment might be filled with cries from the sky,
    Transforming the world into a chorus of screams,
    So I would not hear the silence moving toward me
    Or feel the engine that moves me stop


    (Translated from the original Irish by Sarah Lundberg and Oran Ryan)