The Castaway

we found him
on the rocks of West
the castaway
our large blonde norseman
with holy water
and whiskey
we slowly brought him
back to life

miracle man
let go by the ocean
without the help
of dolphins or
the belly of a whale
let go
into the waves of Tory
Tonnta Thorai

we
with our freckled faces
and red flaming hair
couldn’t understand his speech
maybe words of the past
but he could sing
as the light faded
with booming voice
against the howling
of the storms
which sent waves
one after the other
across the Great Water
to smash into the granite
of our island
and washed full of salt
over the land
over our poorly fields

norseman overawed us
our squabbles muted
the youth helped the elderly
and the elderly
laughed heartily
about his strange gesticulations

when the sun climbed higher
he stood by the sea
for days on end
An Fharraige
mumbling to the birds

one day
he was gone
Patsy Rogers said
he had seen
the man fly
with the sea gulls
to the East

but no one
said a word
about the boy
blond and blue-eyed
of Maggy Doherty

Translation: Trevor Scarse

De Oanspielder

wy fûnen him
op de rotsen fan West
de oanspielder
ús grutte blonde noardman
mei hillich wetter
en whiskey
brochten wy him stadichoan
by sûp en stút

wûnder-minske
loslitten troch de oseaan
sûnder help
fan dolfinen of
de mage fan in walfisk
loslitten
yn de weagen fan Tory
Tonnta Thorai

wy
mei ús skeinsprút koppen
en readflamjend hier
koene syn spraak net begripe
faaks wurden fan earder
mar hy koe sjonge
as it ljocht weiwaard
mei swiere stim
tsjin it geraas
fan de stoarmen
dy’t fan oer it Grutte Wetter
efter inoar
de weagen op it granyt fan ús eilân
te barsten smieten
en fol sâlt oer it lân
oer ús earmoedige ikkers
stoden

noardman makke ús stil
wy tsierden much minder
de jongen holpen de âlden
en de âlden
koene laitsje
om syn frjemde meneuvels

doe’t de sinne heger kaam
stie er dagen oan see
An Fharraige
preuveljend tsjin de fûgels

op in dei
wie er wei
Patsy Rodgers sei
hy hie sjoen
de man fleach
mei de mokken
nei East

mar nimmen
sei in wurd
oer it jonkje
blond en blau-eagich
fan Maggy Doherty

© Bartle Laverman
From: In echte Fries (Hispel, 2016)