A Mother’s Advice

My daughter, go dancing!

Send the boys daft 

Draw them close with your magic

Cast spells like spring showers

Cast spells to haul in their hearts

Delirious youths will lie glistening in your net

Save the brightest, throw back the dull


n.b. www.napowrimo.net Day 21 prompt; Take a poem from a foreign tongue and write a poetic interpretation based on the imagined sounds of the original, a homophonic poem.

Caoinneadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire

Mo ghrá go daingean tu!
Lá dá bhfaca thu
ag ceann tí an mhargaidh,
thug mo shúil aire dhuit,
thug mo chroí taitnearnh duit,
d’éalaíos óm charaid leat
i bhfad ó bhaile leat.

The Irish poem I have used in part is the first verse of Caoineadh Áirt Úi Laoghaire by Eibhlín Dubh Ní `Chonaill. I have subsequently found out that this work was written by the widow of a man who was shot dead by a British soldier after refusing to sell his horse. This has perturbed me somewhat, but I offer my piece in all its naivety, together with the link to the original poem, with apologies and respect to my Irish friends, the original writer and her beloved.

That first verse has been translated by the Irish poet, Thomas Kinsella as follows:

The Lament for Art O’Laoghaire

My steadfast love!
When I saw you one day
by the market-house gable
my eye gave a look
my heart shone out
I fled with you far
from friends and home.

Source: https://ireland-calling.com/caoineadh-airt-ui-laoghaire/ This is a great website to explore popular Irish poetry.

Christopher Perry

21st April, 2020


  1. “Draw them close with your magic”

    That is a great line from a well-crafted poem. 🙂

  2. Congrats on being featured! Well done. And such fun results from your efforts. I may kick off my shoes and dance in the kitchen to whatever music is there.

  3. Thank you, Romana. I really enjoy this type of prompt. Irish is very lyrical and so a nice one to look work with. The poem I have worked it from on turns out to be an absolute gem. I hope that people read that through in its entirety. A widow’s heartfelt and very real lament.

    1. Thank you! Not sure it’s the whole story, but as a dad with two sons I feel privileged to have been recognised for this piece. I imagined what an Irish mother would want to say to empower her daughter to make the most of life’s opportunities.

      1. Well it made me laugh when i first read it. (There is probably a gutsy Irish great-grandmother or two lurking in my ancestry too.)

  4. CONGRATULATIONS and wreathes and wreathes of penstemon! This is perfect, and I love the advice. I’d be the mother that goes ‘Save the brightest, throw back the dull’ – and also, ‘If they’re all dull, don’t bother – shine brighter like a supernova, and outshine ’em all.’

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