The Madness of Suibhne

Bushy oak, leafy oak, Gloomy is this life,
You tower above all trees. In lack of a soft bed,
O hazel, little branching one, To know the numbing frost,
Coffer for sweet nuts! And rough wind-driven snow.

You are not cruel, O alder. Cold wind, icy wind,
Delightfully you gleam, Faint shadow of a feeble sun,
You neither rend nor prickle Shelter of a single tree
In the gap you occupy. On the top of a flat hill.

Blackthorn, little thorny one, Enduring the rain-storm,
Dark provider of sloes. Stepping along deer-paths,
Watercress, little green-topped one, Slouching through greensward
From the stream where blackbirds drink. On a day of grey frost.

O apple-tree, true to your kind, A belling of stags
You are much shaken by men; That echoes through the wood,
O rowan, cluster-berried one, A climb to the deer-pass,
Beautiful is your blossom. The roar of spumy seas….

O briar, arching over, Stretched on a watery bed
You never play me fair; By the banks of Loch Erne,
Ever again you tear me, I consider early rising
Drinking your fill of blood. When the day shall dawn.

Yew-tree, yew-tree, true to your kind,
In churchyards you are found;
O ivy, growing ivy-like,
You are found in the dark wood.

O holly, tree of shelter,
Bulwark against the winds;
O ash-tree, very baleful one,
Haft for the warrior’s spear.

O birch-tree, smooth and blessed,
Melodious and proud,
Delightful every tangled branch
At the top of your crown…