Sunday, May 1, 2011


May-time, fair season, perfect is its aspect then; blackbirds sing a full song, if there be a scanty beam of day.

The hardy, busy cuckoo calls, welcome noble summer!It calms the bitterness of bad weather, the branching wood is a prickly hedge.

Summer brings low the little stream, the swift herd makes for the water, the long hair of the heather spreads out, the weak white cotton-grass flourishes.

...The smooth sea flows, season when the ocean falls asleep; flowers cover the world.

Bees, whose strength is small, carry with their feet a load reaped from the flowers; the mountain allures the cattle. the ant makes a rich meal.

The harp of the wood plays melody, its music brings perfect peace; colour has settled on every hill, haze on the lake of full water.

The corncrake clacks, a strenuous bard; the high pure waterfall sings a greeting to the warm pool; rustling of rushes has come.

Light swallows dark on high, brisk music encircles the hill, tender rich fruits bud...

...The hardy cuckoo sings, the speckled fish leaps, mighty is the swift warrior.

The vigor of men flourishes, the glory of great hills is unspoiled; every wood is fair from crest to ground, fair each great goodly field.

Delightful is the season's splendour, winter's rough wind has gone; bright is every fertile wood, a joyful peace is summer.

A flock of birds settles...; the green field re-echoes, where there is a brisk bright stream.

A mad ardour upon you to race horses, where the serried host is ranged around; very splendid is the bounty of the cattle-pond, the iris is gold because of it.

A timid persistant frail creature sings at the top of his voice, the lark chants a clear tale - excellent May-time of calm aspect!

Irish; author unknown; ninth-tenth century.
From "A Celtic Miscellany" ed/trans. Kenneth Hurlstone Jackson.