Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Short Season of Other Poets: Nuala Ní Chonchúir


My body is a palimpsest
under your hands,
a papyrus scroll
unfurled beneath you,
waiting for your mark.
I clean my skin,
scrape it back to
a pale parchment,
so that your touch
can sink as deep
as the tattooist's ink,
and leave its tracery
over the erased lines
of other men.

You are all that's
written on my body.


Is pailmseist mo chorp
faoi do lámha,
paipír ársa
scrollaithe fút,
ag tnúth le do rian.
Glanaim mo chraiceann,
sciúraim siar é
go pár báiteach
ionas go bpúchfaidh
do lámh mar
dhúch tatuála,
ag líníocht thar
línte dofheicthe
gach fir eile

Níl faic ach tusa
scrábáilte ar mo chorp.

Born in Dublin in 1970, Nuala Ní Chonchúir lives in County Galway, Ireland. Her third short fiction collection Nude will be published by Salt Publishing in September 2009. Poems and an essay will appear in The Watchful Heart – A New Generation of Irish Poets, edited by Joan McBreen (Salmon, April 2009).

Nuala was chosen by The Irish Times as a writer to watch in 2009. Her website is She blogs at These poems are taken from Tattoo-Tatú (Arlen House, 2007) which you can buy here.


Liz said...

Love the word ‘palimpsest’- a new word for me – it fits so well here.
The ending is divine...
It was a real treat to see the Irish version alongside it.

Unknown said...

And Nuala's collection is very good indeed :)

I love the pared-back feel in this poem.

Angela France said...

'palimpsest' is one of my favourite words. I like this poem, vry much - especially "I clean my skin,/scrape it back to/a pale parchment,"

Group 8 said...

Oooh, thanks ladies. Blush blush.

Bo said...

maith thu, a Nuala! agus go raibh maith agat.

Michelle said...

Gorgeous, Nuala! Thank you.