Poems of Love and Dissent

1280px-Street_art_gandhi_pondicherry
Photo: Wikimedia

By Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock responds to street art from around the world with mystic love poetry – in Irish and English – in tanka form that follow a pattern of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables.

1024px-Yuwana
Photo: Wikimedia

bíonn an t-ioguána
is é ag suirí, a chuid
ag bobáil a chinn
bhaineas triail as an gcleas sin
tá mo cheann ag titim díom

when it goes courting
it does lots of head bobbing
the iguana
belovèd, i have tried it
now my head is falling off

800px-Nikolskoe-Dolgorukovo_St_Nicholas_40
Photo: Wikimedia

i séipéal gan díon
paidir sea dán, dán paidir
dán-phaidir dom féin
nílim ag éisteacht, a stór
tá mo ghuth féinig as raon

in a roofless church
poems are prayers and prayers are poems
poem-prayers to myself
i’m not listening, my Treasure
i cannot hear my own voice

1280px-ADW_2_Waterford_Walls_2016
Photo: Wikimedia

misteach is file
i ngan fhios don scuad lámhaigh
cad a mhúintear dóibh
saighdiúirí na Breataine
an múintear rún-éigse dhóibh

he was a mystic
did the firing squad know that
what do they teach them –
British soldiers, belovèd –
are they taught hermetic poems

1024px-Graffiti_(71884775)
Photo: Wikimedia

níl gunnán agam
níl ná tarbh-bhrocaire
cad tá i ndán dom
shíleas go mairfinn ar ghrá
táim i m’fhinné creachta air sin

i’ve neither a gun
nor a pit bull terrier
how will i survive
once i thought i’d live on love
i’ve the scars to remind me

1024px-Fresque_commémorative_hopital_Le_Marin_-_Arawaks
Photo: Wikimedia

táim bréan den Bhéarla
foghlaimímis Aruaicis
teastaíonn m’anam uaim
wadili – ‘fear’ is brí leis
agus hiaro sea ‘bean’

let’s learn Arawak
English has drained me of love
i want my heart back
wadili – that means ‘a man’
and ‘a woman’ hiaro

Street_Art_at_Melaka_City_(9)
Photo: Wikimedia

tógfaidh mé féin í
cónra bhreá, a ghrá mo chléibh
nó Áirc den chéad scoth
ár nArarat féin ’aimsiú
beo ar luibheanna sléibhe

i’ll make it myself
my own coffin, belovèd
or the finest Ark
we’ll find our own Ararat
and live on green mountain herbs

800px-Getsemani_Street_Art,_Cartagena,_Colombia_(24585264535)
Photo: Wikimedia

anocht, a ghrá geal
anocht in Cartagena
beidh oscailt súl ann
seans go gcloisfear mallacht uaidh –
Gabriel García Márquez

let’s meet, my Treasure
tonight in Cartagena
our eyes will open
we might hear him cursing still –
Gabriel García Márquez

1280px-Street_art_gandhi_pondicherry
Photo: Wikimedia

Gandhiji, féach air
nach é tá in ísle brí
Hindutva ar ndóigh
na fanaicigh ghlóracha
luí gan éirí orthu mhuis!

Gandhiji, oh look
see how downcast he appears
Hindutva’s to blame
those loud-mouthed fanatics
they should stay in bed all day

Street_Art_at_Melaka_City_(3)
Photo: Wikimedia

is ilchruthach mé
i m’fhialuch inniu
amárach cá bhfios
im’ dhuine, seans, a thaisce
ní chuirfinnse tharam é

i’m a shape shifter
today i am a mouse deer
tomorrow who knows
a human being, belovèd
anything is possible

1280px-Temple_Bar_(Dublin,_Ireland)_(8114817256)
Photo: Wikimedia

cá ngabhann an ceol breá
is cá ngabhann an bheoir go léir
francaigh sna séaraigh
iad ag damhsa sa domhan thíos
is i ngach cathair faoin spéir

where goes all the beer
the merry jigs and the reels
rats dance in the sewers
underbelly of Dublin
like any other city

คนอเมริกันโดยกำเนิด
Photo: Wikimedia

píosaí in easnamh
ó na míreanna mearaí
amhráin ghrá, damhsaí
scéalta faoi luibheanna leighis
eipicí i mbéal saoithe

the missing pieces
of the jigsaw, belovèd
love songs and dances
magic tales of healing plants
epics told by the wise ones

800px-Graffiti_-_Couple_s'embrassant_-_Lyon
Photo: Wikimedia

an chéad phóg, a chuid
lánúin Néandartálach?
réabhlóid a bhí ann!
éirímis amach, a stór
in aghaidh an lucht bhéaliata

the very first kiss
was it two Neanderthals?
a revolution!
let’s be revolutionaries
and oust our stiff-lipped rulers

Lycée_d'Akwa_-_panoramio_(4)
Photo: Wikimedia

tabharfad ar ais í
cuireadh an ceann mícheart chugam
tírghrá i ndomhnach!
tá botún déanta acu
inchinn as dáta í

i’m giving it back
they have sent me the wrong brain
patriotism?
            no thanks, there’s been a mistake
this brain is obsolescent

800px-Barrio_Lastarria_-calle_José_Ramón_Gutiérrez_277_-fRF2
Photo: Wikimedia

iógaí-easaontóir
sé an duine nua é
gearrann trí bhréaga
le hanáil atá fíor-ghéar
a stór, is tú m’anáilse

the yogi-rebel
he is the new human being
he cuts through all lies
with breath – sharp as a  razor
belovèd, You are my breath

Bio:
Gabriel Rosenstock is a poet, haikuist, tankaist, novelist, playwright, short story writer and translator. Recent bilingual tanka volumes from Cross-Cultural Communications, New York, are Every Night I Send You Flowers and The Road to Corrymore. Do look up his website here.

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