The Celtic Literature Collective

An Exile’s Dream

It would be pleasant, O Son of my God, 
in wondrous voyagings
to travel over the deluge-fountained 
wave to Ireland;

To Mag nEolairg, by Benevenagh, 
across Lough Foyle, 
where I might hear tuneful music 
from the swans.

If the Red Dewy One 
were to reach welcoming 
Port na Ferg, the flocked seagulls 
would rejoice at our swift sailing.

Away from Ireland sorrow 
filled me when I was powerful, 
making me tearful and sad
in a strange land.

Grievous was that journey enjoined on me, 
O King of Mysteries: 
ah, would that I had never gone 
to the battle of Cúl Dreimne!

Happy for Dímma’s son 
in his holy abbey, 
where I might hear what would delight my mind in Durrow 
in the west:

The sound of the wind in the elm 
making music for us, 
and the startled cry of the pleasant grey blackbird 
when she has clapped her wings;

Listening early in Ross Grencha 
to the stags, 
and to cuckoos calling from the woodland 
on the brink of summer.

I have loved the lands of Ireland 
(utterance uncomposed!):
to pass the night with Comgall, to visit Cainnech—
how pleasant that would be!