Deirdre Remembers a Scottish Glen
(Irish, unknown, possibly fourteenth century)
Glen of my body’s feeding:
crested breast of loveliest wheat,
glen of the thrusting long-horned cattle,
firm among the trysting bees.
Wild with cuckoo, thrush, and blackbird,
and the frisky hind below the oak thick ridge.
Green roof that covered a thousand foxes,
glen of wild garlic and watercress, and scarlet-berried rowan.
And badgers, delirious with sleep, heaped fat in dens
next to their burrowed young.
Glen sentried with blue-eyed hawks,
greenwood laced with sloe, apple, blackberry,
tight-crammed between the ridge and pointed peaks.
My glen of the star-tangled yews,
where hares would lope in the easy dew.
To remember is a ringing pain of brightness.
–– Translated by Martin Shaw and Tony Hoagland (Badasses)