Drinking Fountain
(Drinking Fountain, Hampstead Village)

An English translation follows on from the Gaelic.

Dh’aithichinn bàrd

Dh’aithnichinn bàrd uair a sgrìobh:

Innsidh mise dhut dè tha maireannach –
an sgeul a tha thar ar n-eòlais;
lagh agus cumhachd dhìomhair nan atam
eadar aillse agus grian.

Dh’aithnichinn amadan a sgrìobh:

Lasraichean ann an teine sinn,
gar lasadh agus loisgte ann …

mar gum b’ e faclan na lasraichean
agus mar nach biodh ann ach iad.

Canaidh sinn Tòmas ris,
Tòmas bochd, nam biodh fios air a bhith aige
air na tha fios aige a-nis,
cha bhiodh e air a bhith cho spracail,
ach bhiodh e air a ràdh:

Seachainn cainnt agus bi sàmhach
fa chomhair na fìrinn mhòir –
tha Bith ann os cionn fhaclan,
Bith do-thuigsinn dha do sheòrs’,
coinnichear Ris ann an tràthan na h-oidhche,
E fosgladh dhan chridhe tha leònt’,
dhan iriosal air slighe a’ bhròin,
an Gràdh tha os cionn gach soillse.

I knew a poet

I once knew a poet who wrote:

I’ll tell you what is lasting –
the tale beyond our knowledge;
the law and secret power of the atoms
in the middle of cancer and sun.

I knew a fool who wrote:

Flames we are in a fire,
lighting us and burnt up in it …

as if words were the flames
and that was all there is.

We’ll call him Thomas,
poor Thomas, if he had known
what he knows now,
he wouldn’t have been so cocky,
but he would have said:

Avoid speech and be silent
before the great truth –
there is a Being beyond words,
a Being unknowable to your kind,
He is met with in the night watches,
opening to the wounded heart,
to the humble in the path of sorrow,
the Love which is above all light.

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