Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock was born in postcolonial Ireland and is a poet, haikuist, tankaist, translator, playwright, novelist, short story writer and essayist.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021 19:45


Published in Poetry


by Gabriel Rosenstock

Tá sé
Tá sé in
Tá sé in am
Tá sé in am rud
Tá sé in am rud éigin
Tá sé in am rud éigin a
Tá sé in am rud éigin a dhéanamh
Tá sé in am rud éigin a dhéanamh anois


It is
It is time
It is time to
It is time to do
It is time to do something
It is time to do something now

Poems from Prison and Life
Tuesday, 06 July 2021 13:07

Poems from Prison and Life

Published in Poetry
Gabriel Rosenstock reviews Poems from Prison and Life by the Spanish Communist poet Marcos Ana, (1920 - 2016) translated by David Duncombe and published by Smokestack Books, and presents a version in Irish of one of the poems
This book fills one with hope and despair. Hope comes from the motto found in the Author's Note to the book: 
To live for others is the best way of living for oneself.
This wonderful sentiment is inspiring and gives all of us, whatever our political or spiritual values may be, some cause for hope.  As we read on, however, gloom sets in: 'These poems were written in prison, in the depth of night, by the poor light of a peculiar lamp, assembled from an old inkwell, a little alcohol that I smuggled from the sick bay and a wick plaited from the lace of an espadrille . . .' He was Spain's longest-serving political prisoner, wrongly convicted (he claimed) for the murder of a priest, a postman and a farmer. 
Marcos Ana  makes no great claims for his poetry but prays that his poems might 'open a path of fire and rebellion in the hearts and minds of the new generation . ..' Amen to that!
He spent 23 years in Franco's prisons. Poemas de la Prisión y la Vida was published when the author was 91. Che Guevara had Ana's poems with him when the Irish-Argentinian revolutionary was executed by the Bolivian army.
Here is an Irish version of his poem Autobiografía in which he transcends his suffering and all thought of revenge:
Is uafásach é an peaca atá déanta agam:
Theastaigh uaim croí an duine
a líonadh le réaltaí.
Dá dheasca sin, ar feadh seacht ngeimhreadh déag
anseo laistiar de na barraí
chailleas-sa earrach i ndiaidh earraigh.
Im' chime dom ó laethanta m'óige ar aghaidh
agus daortha chun báis,
loinnir mo chuid súl ag meath
in aghaidh na gcloch.
Ach níl rian dorcha ar bith
de scáil ardaingeal an díoltais i m'fhéitheoga:
níl ach scairt amháin - an Spáinn -
ó arraing mo bhrionglóidí . . .
Western Christian Civilisation
Friday, 14 May 2021 15:23

Western Christian Civilisation

Published in Poetry

A tanka poem, in Irish and English (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) by Gabriel Rosenstock, written in response to Western Christian Civilization (1965) an installation by Leon Ferrari (above)

ár gcogaí, a chuid
'tá in ainm an Athar
an Mhic is an Naomhspioraid
cogaí síoraí 'tá iontu
á bhfearadh ina ainm

our wars, Beloved
in the name of the Father
Son and Holy Ghost
this is perpetual war
waged in his most holy name

One Nation Under CCTV
Saturday, 03 April 2021 08:17

One Nation Under CCTV

Published in Visual Arts

Gabriel Rosenstock presents a bilingual tanka in Irish and English, the 31 syllables configured as 5-7-5-7-7written in response to the above work of street art by Banksy.

i am watching You
Beloved, You're watching me
they are watching us
keep Your eyes open, won't you
when You're awake and asleep

táim ag faire ort
taoise ag faire ormsa
táid ag faire orainn
coinnigh do shúile ar oscailt
id' dhúiseacht duit is fá shuan

 Gabriel Rosenstock's latest free book of tanka is available here

The Problem We All Live With
Saturday, 20 March 2021 17:40

The Problem We All Live With

Published in Poetry

Gabriel Rosenstock presents a tanka in Irish and English, written in response to Norman Rockwell's 1964 masterpiece The Problem We All Live With, (above)  

is bóthar fada é
chun na scoile, a Ruby
tóg céim ar céim é
bróga is stocaí geala
ag lonrú faoin ngréin, 'Ruby

a long way to school
a long way to school, Ruby
one step at a time
your white shoes and white stockings
gleaming in the sun, Ruby

This is a bilingual ekphrastic tanka, in Irish and English, following the 5-7-5-7-7 configuration of 31 syllables. The painting depicts six-year old Ruby Bridges in 1960 on her way to an all-white school during the New Orleans desegregation crisis. The marshals are cropped, headless, but we can see the N-word on the wall, bloodied by a smashed tomato, and on the top left hand corner the ominous letters of the Klan.

Guerilla Christ
Wednesday, 08 April 2020 18:39

Guerilla Christ

Published in Poetry
 Guerilla Christ, By Alfredo Rostgaard
féachann sé isteach
i gcroí gach caipitlí -
Críost treallchogaí
he sees into the heart
of every capitalist -
guerrilla Christ
he seis intae the hert
o ilka capitalist -
guerrilla Christ

Leagan Béarla na hAlban: John McDonald

Leagan Seapáiníse: Mariko Sumikura
Covid-19: The General Speaks of His Sorrow
Sunday, 29 March 2020 13:39

Covid-19: The General Speaks of His Sorrow

Published in Poetry

A poem in Irish and English by Gabriel Rosenstock, with image by Otto Dix called Wounded Soldier

Covid 19: The General Speaks of His Sorrow

by Gabriel Rosenstock

Self-isolation . . .
These bitter days

When can I send battalions
Of raw young men
To war
To crush their bones
And the bones of others

When will I see them again
Marching proudly
Shoulder to shoulder

Self-isolation . . .
These bitter days

The flash of bayonets
Is no more


Covid 19: Labhraíonn an Ginearál Faoina Bhuairt

Féinleithlisiú . . .
Na laethanta goirt seo

Cathain a bheidh mé in ann
Cathláin d’fhir óga neamhoilte
A chur chun cogaidh
D’fhonn a gcnámha féin
Is cnámha eile a bhascadh

Cathain a fheicfidh mé arís iad
Is iad ag máirseáil go huaibhreach
Gualainn le gualainn

Féinleithlisiú . . .
Na laethanta goirt seo

Splanc na mbeaignití
Ní fheicim níos mó