Julian Farmer- Five Poems

PoetJulian Farmer is a poet and a translator of poetry from quite a number of languages. He lives in England and his book of poems, Humanities, is published by Fand Music Press. His work has appeared in Acumen, Modern Poetry in Translation, The London Magazine, The Shop, Litro and Stand.


MY BLESSING ON YOU

GEOFFREY KEATING
(1569-1644)

My blessing on you, O, Written Word,
which relates the bliss of a Noble Land!
It’s a shame her hill-tops are not in view,
although her strengths are always red!

Farewell to her lords, and to her churls;
all too exactly, farewell to her clergy;
farewell to her gentle womenfolk;
and to her scholars with their learning!

Farewell to her pleasant mockery;
farewell to the leeward side of her hills;
I’m welcome in those houses of hers;
farewell to her pools, and to her lochs!

Farewell to her woods, laden with produce;
moreover, farewell to her fishing reaches;
farewell to her peat, and to her grasslands;
farewell to her bracken, and to her bogs!

From out of my heart, farewell to her harbours;
moreover, farewell to her heavy pastures;
my bidding to her huddled hillocks;
farewell to her stooping trees!

But to her ever furious bands,
in that prosperous, Holy Isle, −
venturing back across the sea,
O, Written Word, convey my blessing!

Translation: Julian Farmer


MO BHEANNACHT LEAT, A SCRÍBHINN

Mo bheannacht leat, a scríbhinn,
Go hinis aoibhinn Ealga!
Trua nach léir dom a beanna
Gidh gnáth a dteanna dearga!

Slán dá huaisle ʼs dá hoireacht,
Slán go ró-bheacht dá cléirche,
Slán dá bantrachta caoine,
Slán dá saoithe re héigse!

Mo Shlán dá mághaibh míne,
Slán fé mhíle dá cnoca,
Mochean don tí tá inti,
Slán dá linnte ʼs dá locha!

Slán dá coillte fé thorthaí,
Slán fós dá corthaí iascaigh,
Slán dá móinte ʼs dá bánta,
Slán dá ráthaí ʼs dá riasca!

Slán óm chroí dá cuanta,
Slán fós dá tuartha troma,
Soraidh dá tulcha aonaigh,
Slán uaim dá craobha croma!

Gidh gnáth a foirne fraochda
In inis naofa neambocht, −
Siar tar dhromchla na díleann
Beir, a scríbhinn, mo bheannacht!

Seathrún Céitinn


BRUNDISIUM

ventri indico bellum…
Horace

I’m going all the way now
to Brundisium. I’m going
to the sea, to the ends of the earth.
The path is straight. I’ll take
a poet with me, and eat the local food.

I’ve had enough of this life.
The pain of travel
is forever under my feet,
although I never seem to stir
and the walls of my house ache with grief.

But I know, in Brundisium, I’ll be free.
I’ll follow the ancient legend.
What love is left for me
grows in the fields, and in wayside inns.
Brundisium is a madness, is a dream.

Julian Farmer


EGGS-AND-BACON

Life looms over
death, today.

The Egg-and-Bacon plant
squints at me
and nods a salutation.

The sun rinses
my heart anew.

My gaze is outward
and would almost
welcome anything.

“Don’t expect
too much,” I ask.

“We are there now,
at the peak of
intercommunication.”

Julian Farmer


PERICLES

Insects ring, in the garden.
Between the bushes,
the statue of a nymph
almost seems to move.

Pericles, who sits,
puts down his wine cup
and thinks of
the not-too-distant war.

Helios hangs overhead.
“Apollo, do not bring disease
to these, my people,” thinks the man,
just basking, gripped by calm.

In the silence of a moment,
he lives again,
lovingly being warmed
by a democratic sun.

Julian Farmer


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