“Cinderella Tráth” and other poems by Aoibhe Ní Loingsigh

Cinderella Tráth

Chaill sí a bróg (agus a croí) I bpobal I gConnemara,
Rud simplí ab ea é ag tarlú ó thús staire,
Cad a tharla dár gcailín óg, dár ‘Cinderella,’
Phóg a buachaill álainn deas cailín éigean eile,

D’Fhág sí cuid dá anam ag glanadh miasa go tapaidh,
Tom-Bán ag míniú nuacht dóibh “Bhreatain, cinnte rachaidh,”
Ag an am rinne siad iarracht an seanfhear bocht a éalú,
Beagnach am don chéilí, cad mar gheall ar smuidiú?

Cé go bhfuil sí arais I gCorcaigh fós cloisfeá a guth ag gáire I nGaillimh,
Insóidh na scéalta grinn is fearr, coast a dhó ar an dtalamh,
(An cúinteoir crosta bocht …bhí a fáinne cluasa mar éin),
Scéalta naemhdíobhálach ar an mbus ina bhfir grinn dóibh féin


Mo hata

Look keep your warm calloused hands and your smiling eyes,
Keep those sea wet salty eyebrows under Connemara skies,
Keep the easy-going attitude “Beidh gach rud ceart go lóir,”
Stay there and sit in factor 50 on the sandy shore
Keep the dances we danced together and try to dance like me
Think of Fiachra eating lunch in a jellyfish sea
Keep the classroom coincidences I don’t even care
Sometimes I wish I’d never met the loveliest boy from Kildare
Keep your kayak bravery and your rounders skill
Please promise me you bless yourself when an ambulance passes still
Keep a list of people and counties and keep the Cork lads close
Ní raibh mé do chailín níl mé anois ach b’fhéidir go mbeidh mé fós
Keep “tá Oisín chomh deas” yeah keep especially that
Keep it all ná bach leis but give me back my hat


Jack Hall

His hair was long and greasy to his waist it did fall,
His face was yellow from lack of sun poor ol’ young Jack Hall,
His Father stood, on one leg, at almost six foot two,
But when he leant on the other foot the opposite was true,
His mother who once long before he was told had been pretty,
Now wore within her hair, heart and clothes the griminess of the city,

An army of ivy leaves held their house under siege,
“Gone too far,” “Nothing to be done,” this was of course agreed,
Outside the back, their garden ran a short mess of Bush and tree,
So overgrown that out the window one could barely see,
In the overgrowth danced fifty to seventy very well-fed rats,
A happy coincidence altogether for next door’s tabby cat,

The weather outside brought about the temperature inside,
In winter months their bones d’shiver in Summer months they’d fry,
Electricity had yet to reach, this last house on the road,
And would not for many years until it would at last be sold,
He spent his evenings at the gate confined behind the wall,
Watching the other lads kick a ball, poor ol’ young Jack Hall,

Sometimes alas by accident the ball would bounce up to,
The peeling door of house number a hundred and fifty two,
The woman with the raggy clothes and the horselike mouth,
Would brandish a sharpened butter knife and from the door she’d shout,
“I swear to God the Lord above ye’ll not me disrespect,”
Each time the plastic pound shop ball would soon be truly fecked,
And cast aside in the overgrowth, of grass beyond the knee,
A reminder if her triumph that everyone could see,

One Summer day our Jack he stood and maggots he did make,
Inside his heavy big black coat. He drummed his fingers on the gate,
Music filled the terraced street amplifying as it drew near,
The promise of something sweet that his mother deemed ‘too dear’,

The ice-cream van skidded to a halt in the middle of the road,
It’s tinny song advertising what it was he sold,
A father sauntered out of his house and walked up to the van,
He smiled and chatted on and on, he clearly knew the man,

“Six half cones, Murphy, that’s it for me”
He took the six cones with a wink and quickly paid for three,
A cone for each of his three sons and for their friend Big Noel,
And for the youngest Healy boy who they’d always stick in goal,
He then began to walk, where people didn’t go,
To the ivy house with the tall tall grass nobody’s mow,

He handed Jack the bit of ice cream sliding off the cone,
(Jack Hall the crater who spent his time standing all alone),
Jack’s two eyes lit up with joy, a smile slid across his face,
The ice cream that was in his hand he could all but taste,
For once and not in some cruel game,
He truly felt the same.


Cinderella Tráth and other poems are © Aoibhe Ní Loingsigh

Aoibhe Ní Loingsigh is a poet from Cork. Aoibhe writes both in English (her first language) and as Gaeilge (her favourite language). One of Aoibhe’s Grandas inspired her love of Irish at a young age. Time spent in the Gaeltacht helped to further this grá. Aoibhe hopes to work in an Irish college (that she previously attended) in Connemara during the Summer. A short story of Aoibhe’s won a competition in her local library and a past English teacher read a poem of hers at her wedding. Aoibhe wrote a book last summer (while helping with the Leaving Cert exams) in English with the dialogue as Gaeilge. Aoibhe is an aggressively (the word agressive is used for emphasis) optimistic person and decides to see the good in everything. This is reflected in her poetry. Her sense of humour is evident and helps to give her poetry a universal appeal.

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