Dónall Dempsey

Veteran Poet - 1,356 Points (15/07/56 / Curragh Camp, Co. Kildare, Eire.)

Abú...Abú! (Forever...Forever!) Tanka In Irish With Trasnslation - For My Brother Brian. - Poem by Dónall Dempsey


An cnoc...oh...gaoth
(mise ar mbarra trasna)

agus i dtost na dtost
ah mo chroí...mo chroí...mo chroí!



The hill...oh...wind
(myself on the crossbar)
of my Dad’s bike

and in the silence of the silence
ah my dear...my heart...my heart!



Don’t care if I ever get to Heaven...’cos I’ve already been there. This one eternal second is forever happening in my mind. I am forever in the bliss of its glorious-ness. Being 5 and so alive...living in that almost sensual speed...that “always second.”

Perched upon the crossbar of my Dad’s bike(comfy as anything on my little ‘specially-made attached saddle that clamped on to the crossbar that allowed me to ride side-saddle) cuddled so close to his heartbeat clamped to my ear as without fear I flew like a little Puck through the air...a destroyer of Time and Space!

Man/bike/child fused into one being as we raced into the still centre of forever.

The “Abú...Abú! ” of the title is the forever of a battle cry as we whoop into war...battling the mighty elemental force of wind and hill.

“Dónall forever! ”

Little Biddy Dobbin used to run a sweetshop on this hill(a Mecca for us Curragh kids) . Centre of the then known world. It must have been a ton of liquorice I bought there over my entire career as a child and sacks and sacks of sherbet to dip it in and wince at the sheer pleasure of it. Allsorts! Allsorts! A treasure trove of lovely lusciousness to gobble on your own or eat slowly and politely in front of an adult.

This the longest of long hills became known affectionately as
Dobbin’s Hill or indeed Biddy’s Hill.

When I grew to be a bigger boy I too would be tempted to dare to defy its gravity...once even(stupidly but successfully) without – hands: oh the skill of not being killed...out of my mind...drunk on words...the thrill of the hill... screaming at the top of my lungs Geard Manly Hopkins’s THE WINDHOVER...becoming both the bird and the words.

“And the beauty that breaks from thee then...a billion times told lovelier... more beautiful...ah, my dear...!

as Hopkins perfectly puts it.
And even in the Irish I get that tiny phrase of Hopkins into this Tanka... “Ah, mo chroí/Ah, my dear...” though I doubt anyone will notice ‘cept me!

Croí also meaning heart and core and centre!

Here the world and the word buckling into beauty that I could grasp!

Here...I am in love...with Life and Life...in love with me.

When the kid became a man and the man somehow became a soldier
(wrong turn...wrong turn!) I puffed and panted this hill up’n’down at many a 6 o’ clock of many a frosty morning(after a 6 mile run and an agony of an assault course) .

Somehow I survived this and became...a poet.

I can still hear a battalion of men(would be could be soldiers) chanting up that hill in unison an orison:

“Here we go(here we go)
up de hill(up de hill)
whose hill(whose hill)
...? ”

And then with an awesomely dirty roar...an only answer:

“...Biddy’s Hill! ”

Well aware of the innuendo awarded to her she would dash out of her shop like an enraged spider and shake a venomous fist at us.

The hill forever... lives for me...it can never die.

The famous Curragh Cinema(one of the finest and first in Ireland) that lay at its bottom has now gone... forgotten into thin air as I walk amongst the ghosts of old movies still searching for their celluloid home..amazed(as I am) that it is now...no more...unbelievably... there!

Me & my Dad and his bike fused furiously into a single being...forever riding the whirling wind into an always we have become.


Phonetically speaking(I feverently believe that a poem lives on the tongue and a voice is where it is meant to be) it goes something a little like this:




Comments about Abú...Abú! (Forever...Forever!) Tanka In Irish With Trasnslation - For My Brother Brian. by Dónall Dempsey

  • (4/5/2008 11:38:00 AM)

    Well, of course, I am dying to read this aloud, but the library frowns on this practice, so I shall copy the page and take it home with me...for I can hardly wait to sound aloud...AH, MA CREE, MA CREE, MA CREE. LYN (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (3/27/2008 1:17:00 PM)

    I am as deeply touched by this poem as anything you have ever written, because of not only the poem, but the essay at the bottom as well. Both are full of the pure beauty of one of your journeys into your childhood...and the childhood of each of us! I can feel the wind in my face as I crash down that hill (no hands!) , and I can taste the sweetness of that candy on my tongue, and I can hear my brother's heart beating next to mine. This is a pure beauty of a trip into your child-
    hood...and mine. Thank you for writing this one, Dearest Dear! It is perfection
    in more ways than I can name.
    (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Thursday, March 27, 2008

Poem Edited: Monday, May 12, 2008

[Report Error]