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.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
Monday, 01 April 2024 12:48

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Published in Poetry

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson
(A bilingual limerick by Gabriel Rosenstock)

The whole thing's a bit of a blur
I admit, I have caused a wee stir
Please, don't be unkind
What's most on my mind
Is can I hang on to the 'Sir'?

An mbainfear díom an onóir
A tháinig chugamsa ón gCoróin?
Do bheadh Jeffrey leis féin
Gan 'Sir' roimhe bréan
Ní bheadh ann ach taca gan tóin

Poetry / Filíocht
Saturday, 21 October 2023 21:50

Poetry / Filíocht

Published in Poetry

Poetry/ Filíocht is a bilingual poem by Gabriel Rosenstock in response to the latest conflict in the Middle East


perhaps rabbi Nachman
could give me advice
but how can I find him
among so many ashes
Zbigniew Herbert

I have strained my eyes
looking at headlines
pored over in-depth analysis –
who bombed the hospital?
Poetry shouldn’t be like this
plumbing the depths of propaganda
sifting for evidence.
Poetry should enter the heart of the bomb
and defuse it
before it rips into the mother’s heart
the father’s heart
before it muffles the scream of orphans
Before . . .
Rabbi Nachman, have you any advice?


d’fhéadfadh an raibí Nachman
comhairle a chur orm
ach cá bhfaighinn a thuairisc
i measc charn luaithrigh

Zbigniew Herbert

Thuirsíos mo shúile
ag stánadh ar cheannlínte
ag léamh mionanailíse –
cé a bhuamáil an t-ospidéal?
Ní cóir don fhilíocht a bheith mar seo
mionscrúdú á dhéanamh aici ar bholscaireacht
fianaise á piocadh amach aici.
Ba chóir don fhilíocht dul isteach i gcroí an bhuama
agus an dochar a bhaint as
sula réabfaí croí na máthar
croí an athar
sula múchfaí scréach na ndílleachtaí
Sula . . .
A Raibí Nachman, an bhfuil comhairle ar bith agat dúinn?

Monday, 09 October 2023 11:06


Published in Poetry

Ukraine is a bilingual poem in Irish and English by Gabriel Rosenstock, inspired by Nie Wieder Krieg (Never Again War) by Karl Wiener (see above, Public Domain image)


wooden crosses over graves
beginning to look like daggers
sunk with a squelch into the earth
to quieten the undead
but undead and quivering they are not
they are truly dead
empire masters of the east
empire masters of the west
those are the undead


crosa adhmaid os cionn uaigheanna
féachann siad anois cosúil le miodóga
a sádh de ghlugar sa chré
d'fhonn na neamh-mhairbh a shuaimhniú
ach ní neamh-mhairbh ar crith ina gcraiceann iad
táid ar fad marbh go deimhin
máistrí impireacht an oirthir
máistrí impireacht an iarthair
sin iad na neamh-mhairbh duit

Refugees: Who Are You?
Monday, 03 July 2023 08:00

Refugees: Who Are You?

Published in Poetry

 Who Are You?

by Gabriel Rosenstock

ná bíodh sceon oraibh
le bhur dtoil, cé sibh féinig
cad as daoibh, a chlann?
beidh sibh sábháilte anseo
tá tearmann uainn go léir

do not be afraid
tell us, kindly, who you are
where have you come from?
you will come to no harm here
we all seek refuge on earth

Who Are You? is a bilingual tanka in Irish and English (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) in response to Refugiés (c.1918) by Théophile Steinlen (above). Steinlen was a Swiss artist who illustrated material for socialist and anarchist publications. His anti-war images are particularly memorable.

A bilingual tribute to Queen Camilla
Monday, 17 April 2023 09:40

A bilingual tribute to Queen Camilla

Published in Poetry

Gabriel Rosenstock's bilingual tribute to Queen Camilla has moved millions of her ardent followers:

Ar chuala tú trácht ar Chamilla
b'í gile na gile í - na gile!
do chruaidh sí gach slat
bhí go dtí sin gan at
cé gur fhéach sí ar nós sean-sinsile

There was a fine queen called Camilla
whose partner was Charles the Gorilla
and every young loner
developed a boner
at the thought of this wizened chinchilla

Wednesday, 01 February 2023 15:39


Published in Poetry

níl súil ina cheann
dhá pholl dhú' ag stánadh orainn
níl aon anam ann
géaga leata mar bhultúr
chun barróg a bhreith orainn

look, he has no eyes
just two black holes in his head
and he has no soul
his arms spread like vulture wings
to hold us in his embrace

Wiener was a left-wing draftsman, graphic artist and photo-montage artist. His studio in Vienna was bombed out in 1945. A talented teacher, Vienna School of Applied Arts fired him in1947. He worked thereafter as an illustrator for left-wing media, and ended his own life in 1949.

Communal work
Monday, 09 January 2023 21:41

Communal work

Published in Poetry

A bilingual Utopian haiku by Gabriel Rosenstock in response to The Cotton Pickers by Winslow Homer (1836 -1910).

saothrú do dhaoine eile?
cén fáth nach saothróimis
le chéile?

why work for others?
can't we all work

Why don't we all have a share? Three bilingual tanka inspired by Jack Kerouac
Saturday, 31 December 2022 09:53

Why don't we all have a share? Three bilingual tanka inspired by Jack Kerouac

Published in Poetry

Three Bilingual Tanka

by Gabriel Rosenstock

Kerouac 1 was written in response to a seldom-cited socialist manifesto by Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), novelist and haiku master:

Shorter hours will provide the labourer with a new desire to live, not to be a productive animal, but to have time to be a man, to have time to enjoy the rights of man in the use of his divine intellect, a gift of God that is overlooked by our overlords of the present Industrial Era.

giorraigh an lá dúinn,
a Thiarna, chun go bhfeicfí
ré nua Kerouac:
sciatháin aingil ag péacadh
trínár gcraiceann ainmhíoch!

Lord, shorten these hours
so that a new era dawns
as Kerouac dreamed:
angelic wings come, sprouting,
from this brute animal skin!


Kerouac 2 was written in response to an early story by Kerouac,
The Mystery, in which he speculates on the nature of ownership:

As I was approaching the rail crossing near the old depot that we have in my home town, I had to lean against a sagging fence (black with soot-years) for fully ten minutes while a mighty locomotive went by freighting ninety-six cars...

....and the thought arose, why didn’t this locomotive, its cars and its cargo belong to him and to his fellow men? He asks, as a child might ask:

Who covets these great things, so that myself and my fellow men are not heir to their full use?

mistéir is ea é
conas nach bhfuil sciar againn
de gach a bhfuil ann
cén fáth a dtaisceann daoine
níos mó ná a ndóthain mhaith?


it’s a mystery
why we all don’t have a share
in God’s great bounty
why do men squirrel away
more than they’ll need in one life?


Kerouac 3 was sparked off by the following passage from an early short piece by Kerouac, The Wound of Living:

I am a New Englander . . . a New Englander removed. Unlike Emerson and Thoreau, my real roots are not set in New England, though I was born there; my roots come from Brittany, and my people were hardy fishermen, like those in Synge and Loti . . .

an smaoiním orthu –
mo shinsir? deacair a rá
conas iad a bhrath
a ngnásanna a shamhlú
a dteanga, a dteacht i dtír

do I think of them –
my ancestors? yes and no
how to conjure them
imagine their existence
how they spoke, all their struggles

Gabriel Rosenstock’s bilingual edition of Kerouac’s haiku, sioc maidine/ morning frost was published by Arlen House in association with IMRAM literature festival

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