Poems by Olena Duc-Fajfer, translated by Elaine Rusinko and Bogdan Horbal

Poems by Olena Duc-Fajfer, translated by Elaine Rusinko and Bogdan Horbal

The sun
like a white stone
on the water
a chain swinging
the nameless day
invigorated us
with shimmering pornography
waking up
from a periwinkle night
into prophetic life
        Vira, Nadia, Liubov
        Sofia’s children
        God grant happiness
        it is still the day
        of a single sun

My world
is not somebody else’s word
it is a piece of space
in the absolute
a prayer
for departed souls
who still molder in the earth
a green light
to future centuries
rooted
in the archetypical
image of life

It’s me again
it’s they again
as in a mirror
two sides
belonging to no one
torn from the absolute

maestro plays
for four hands
the touch of glass
cools on the face
I
or they
bridges torn

let’s go further

it’s already standing
on a hill that house
which was supposed
to be safe for us
it spreads its wings
into the green
and calls
continually calls
for a prayer
that may create it

That which never repeats
was repeated
the river and the water
only the years
pass by
and we don’t have ourselves
only in ourselves
we bear our image
which repeats
as we stand
facing ourselves

we say nothing
for we know everything
for all time

Augury

On my palm three candles
the evening poured
blackness into the flame
I was telling fortunes
onto the stony path
rolled
every
Lemko word
I set off

Autobiography

Schizophrenia
or only me split in two
mine
yours
Whose names
are written in us
where is my land
and where is the one that gave birth to me
how many generations will pass
below me
above me
grasses dry out

is it only yearning
or is it hope

Enchanted

it’s late
white birds leave the earth
our faithfulness
smells like the northern wind
hug tighter
distant sorrow
the spindle of barefoot steps
in the willows
squeeze a drop of dew in your fingers
the heart of night rejoices
in the hollow of the hand

Step after step

in the white snow
again
comes
the hour
when there are no
stains
or shadows
barking of dogs
clanging of chains
The first furrow is stretched
along the boundary
there is only the fear
of returning

Sun

Once…
people went
to the mountain
to pray to the sun
Now…
people have sold the sun
and think
it is easier to live

Olena Duc-Fajfer is a native Lemko literary scholar, art historian, editor, poet. She is the head of the Department of Russian Literature at the Institute of East Slavonic Philology at Jagiellonian University and founder of Lemko philology at the Pedagogical University in Cracow, where she taught Lemko language, culture and literature. Between 2005 and 2014 she served as a representative for Lemkos on the Joint Commission of the Government and National and Ethnic Minorities. Her research interests include literature and ethnicity, ethnic minority literature, minority discourses, intercultural relations, the anthropology of literature, and the revitalization of endangered cultures and languages. She is the author of 250 academic publications, including the monographs Lemko Literature in the Second Half of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century (Kraków 2001). She actively promotes the Lemko language and culture throughout the world.

Bogdan Horbal is a historian, librarian, and curator of Slavic and East European Collections at the New York Public Library. He holds a Ph.D. in history (University of Wrocław, 2005) and an MLS (Queens College, CUNY, 1999). Horbal is interested in the evolution of Lemko people in both Europe and North America. He authored four monographs, including Działalność polityczna Łemków na Łemkowszczyźnie 1918-1921 (1997), Лемківска народна музыка на восковых циліндрах (1901-1913) і американьскых рекордах (1928-1930)/Lemko Folk Music on Wax Cylinders and American Records (1901-1930) (2008 with Walter Maksimovich); Lemko Studies: A Handbook (2010, reprint 2023), and Бортне – Село з Каміня, 2 vols. (2017). He also wrote many articles, including almost 200 entries for the Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture (2002; 2nd rev. and exp. ed. 2005; Ukrainian ed. 2010) and presented papers at numerous conferences.

https://nypl.academia.edu/BogdanHorbal

Elaine Rusinko, professor emerita at the University of Maryland, earned a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literature from Brown University. She began her scholarly work with articles on modernist Russian poetry. Later, she turned to the culture of her own Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry, publishing translations, articles, a volume of conference presentations, and the first comprehensive English-language history of Rusyn literature, Straddling Borders: Literature and Identity in Subcarpathian Rus’ (2003). More recently, she began to explore the ethnic background of the most famous Rusyn-American, Andy Warhol, with studies that explore his reception in the Rusyn homeland of his parents, his ancestry, his religious background, and his mother. My biography, Andy Warhol’s Mother: Julia Warhola and the Rusyn-American Immigrant Experience, is currently in press at the University of Pittsburgh.

https://umbc.academia.edu/ElaineRusinko

Poems by Olena Duc-Fajfer, translated by Elaine Rusinko and Bogdan Horbal

Poems by Olena Duc-Fajfer

Сонце
як білий камін
над водом
ретяз колыше
безіменний ден
покріпил нас
порноґрафійом блискучом
з просніня
барвінкового
віщым жытьом
        Віра, Надія, Любов
        Софіі діти
        Дай Боже щесливо
        іщы ден
        єдного сонця

Мій світ
то не чуже слово
то кавальчык простору
в абсолюті
молитва
за помершы душы
якы іщы тліют в земли
зелене світло
будучым вікам
вкоріненым
в архетыпний
образ жытя

Зас я
зас они
так як в дзеркалі
дві стороны
ничыі
з простору вырваны

маестро грат
на штырі рукы
дотык шкла
холодніє на твари
я
ци они
мосты зорваны

ходме далі

yж стоіт
на горбку тота хыжка
што безпечном
про нас мала быти
крыла розпостерат
в ззеленіст
і кличе
фурт кличе
про молитву
котра може єй створити

Повторило ся тото
што николи ся не повтарят
і ріка і вода
лем рокы
все проходят
і не маме себе
лем в собі
образ свій несеме
котрий ся повторит
як станеме
проти себе

нич не речеме
бо вшытко знаме
од все

Ворожба

На долони три свічкы
Лял ся вечетри
в поломін чорнявом
…ворожылам
на пут каменистий
катуляло ся
кожде
лемківскє слово
…пішлам

Автобіографія

ци лем я надвоє
моє
твоє
Чыі імена
в нас вписаны
де моя земля
а де тота што мя родила
кілко поколінь іщы мине
підо мном
надо мном
сохнут травы

ци то лем туга
ци надія

Зачаруваны

пізно уж
білы птахы лишают землю
вірніт наша
пахне пілнічным вітром
ближше пригорний
засмученіст далеку
веретено кроків босых
в лозинах
затисний пальці на перлинці росы
то серце ночы так радіє
в жмени

Нога за ногом

в білым снігу
зас
стaє ся
час
коли неє
пятен
ани тіни
бреханя пса
ретязи бренкоту

Перша борозда протята
напрямом границ
то лем страх
пред поворотом

Сонце

Колиси..
люде ходили
на гору
до сонця ся молити
Тепер…
люде сонце продали
і думают
же легше ім жыти

Olena Duc-Fajfer is a native Lemko literary scholar, art historian, editor, poet. She is the head of the Department of Russian Literature at the Institute of East Slavonic Philology at Jagiellonian University and founder of Lemko philology at the Pedagogical University in Cracow, where she taught Lemko language, culture and literature. Between 2005 and 2014 she served as a representative for Lemkos on the Joint Commission of the Government and National and Ethnic Minorities. Her research interests include literature and ethnicity, ethnic minority literature, minority discourses, intercultural relations, the anthropology of literature, and the revitalization of endangered cultures and languages. She is the author of 250 academic publications, including the monographs Lemko Literature in the Second Half of the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century (Kraków 2001). She actively promotes the Lemko language and culture throughout the world.

Thanks to the Acid Rain by Itxaro Borda, translated from the author’s French translation by Clayton McKee

Thanks to the Acid Rain by Itxaro Borda, translated from the author’s French translation by Clayton McKee

When I get to the Erratzü Farm, no one will tell me how to live, what to think, how or to whom or with whom to speak, or even what topics to discuss. I will go back to speaking the Souletin dialect that I had learned three decades ago. In the depths of my solitude when I played with the idea, a ray of light grabbed my neurons. I felt happy. Syntactical rules became falcons. The irony of sentences sliced like a sharpened knife and the string of phonemes stepped on the paw prints of the bears of Sainte Engrâce. Joana Garralda, my fiancée, used her own dialect from the Salazar Valley, paying tribute to the discernible diversity of the Basque language.

Phaedra Out-Take #2 started. I took Les Guérillères by Monique Wittig in my hands. This novel that I loved so much gave me the chills. I read it all the time as if I didn’t have any other books. I appreciated the energy that emerged from its pages, the sting of the words, the calls for reclaiming, and this invigorating epic that opened little by little.  As soon as I felt lost, I returned to this book hoping that it would show me the right path.

I was going to keep Proust, Dostoyevsky, Woolf, and Rimbaud. I’ll find the rest on the Internet, or even at the public library in Tardets. The versions of my books didn’t have any valor, except sentimental. You could use them as fuel for a fire in the middle of winter if you really needed to. Truthfully, I didn’t give much thought about all this during my investigations when I found myself in front of the monumental libraries of my clients. They had books bound in leather with the names of authors chiseled in golden letters. I didn’t envy them though. Not at all, actually.  I won’t have time to read in Erratzü anyway…

I was on unemployment when Joana called to invite me to live with her. The street cleaning company in Bayonne sent all of us, Karim, Dédé, and me, packing. Since we were all getting close to our sixties, we were old, incapable, and not well-liked by management. We were going to suffer, waiting for retirement. Since getting elected, President Macron has changed the rules to be able to collect unemployment. He had gotten rid of the taxes on the rich and their fortunes, and he reduced the duration of benefits for the neediest people. That’s good justice. Two birds, one stone. Bravo, Manü!

Improvement, impossible…

Thanks to Tangerine Dream’s melodies, the heartbeat of the electronic music accompanied the sound of my future tea’s boiling water. I remembered that Dédé, Karim, and I had cried the last time we went around to collect the trash. We stoically tolerated the foul odor of consumer society’s trashcans. The smells clung to our skin and made us want to vomit. We finished our vacations by vomiting in each other’s arms, hoping to find some comfort.  In Joana Garralda’s house, at least I would be far from all of this. You can see the summit of the Madeleine from her kitchen. There is also a large entryway and three large bedrooms. Each one of us would have our own room and we could have friends over for a weekend, if we still had any.

It goes without saying that there is a garden with a small apple tree planted alongside the western hedges. That’s where I will go to dig and work instead of listening to music or reading pornographic literature. I will also have a house with a garden. I will achieve the lifelong dream of the average Basque. I won’t mess this up.

“Yes, Joana. I’m going to come…”

“When will you get here?”

“I don’t know. Next month, let’s say.”

“I’ll get your room ready…”

I put down my phone and repeated: “Great, great”. Just like that, I was getting ready energetically for my move to Erratzü. I look at the photos that Joana sent me on my cellphone again. The farm was in overall good shape. In addition to the garden, there was an oven to bake bread in a woodshed. I was going to love it there, of course, I was going to love the life that my dear Joana prepared for me. It would be a simple life, or at least one without more than everything that I would need.  What did I need deep down outside of a bit of love, a warm home, and the cold sunlight of the morning?

I toss the works of Maria Mercé Marçal and Marguerite Duras in a box along with Xora and Fargo DVDs, three external hard drives that held all my memories, and the camera that I used during my investigations. Suddenly, between Dune and Hyperion, I saw the black notebook from my last investigation. I didn’t dare pick it up because I’d failed my duty to bring the people responsible for Martin d’Otsabide’s suicide to justice. I was washed up. I should’ve just confessed to it myself. Exactly a few days ago on a street in Bayonne, I walked past Martin’s widow who was dressed in black, crushed by a deep sadness, and staring at the ground.

I approached her to say hello. She took a step back. She refused to take my hand and, while sobbing, she wished me a good day. She was busy, but she gave me some upsetting news anyway:

“It’s not easy to get back on your feet, you know… No, you don’t know because you run away at the first sign of a problem… Sorry. I don’t want to be mean. It just slipped out…”

“Don’t worry about it, I tell her. It’s not a big deal. I’m used to it. I don’t always get to finish my investigations because there is often something that doesn’t add up. Beliefs, suspicions, power games, or even intrinsic conditions can block…”

She melted into the bustling crowd. I followed the curved line of this collapsed life with my eyes until she completely disappeared. Everything related to Martin’s suicide suddenly rushes back. A few years back, his story and his cheese production cooperative GaztaKoop, whose launch he funded, started off fine. The farmers of the region gathered to better produce and sell their sheep’s milk. The shareholders of the project had built an enormous building in the desert domain of Basagaitz. They hired employees and a director who they paid the same wage as bosses in the private sector.

GaztaKoop was the model of economic development for the press and Basque society. They conducted an aggressive sales policy. The farmers went from store to store selling their cheeses, butters, and different dairy products to clients in the various towns. But after some time, depending on the rumors, we learned that GaztaKoop was a money pit, that it was close to going bankrupt, and that the legally responsible parties were the cooperative farmers themselves. Like the images of ancient biblical paradise, the serpent is biting its own tail.

Stormy general assemblies were called. Farmers were opposing farmers. All this because of one brilliant idea proposed by management: everyone should go to the bank and take out a loan in their name to replenish the company’s accounts. Martin believed in the future of GaztaKoop when he was heading to the bank to open a line of credit for fifty thousand euros. The bank obviously accepted the request since this helped the bank get richer. He had tears in his eyes as he signed because he felt trapped. Furthermore, it had been two years since the cooperative had paid him for his milk production, and the company would certainly never pay him because there was little hope that the financial situation would get better.

Martin’s widow had told me that this was a tough time for them. It seemed like no one was listening to them and no one understood them because no one was talking about the GaztaKoop scandal. There was no mention on the radio nor in the pages of the agricultural union’s newspapers. On the road to hell, they marched in silence and in secret. The Basque world, our world, she told me as if to stress something important, was always ready to mobilize when an injustice occurred. If a dairy farm in Béarn or in France acted this way, we would blow up the news and we would spread the information everywhere. But here, in addition to the operating debts, the farmer members were required to take on the fees themselves to cover the costs of the whole cooperative.

After just two years, following an eventful general meeting, the cooperative incited them to take out another loan. So, some farmers abandoned ship. But many, like Martin, decided to stay trusting and faithful. Martin then fell to the depths of a deep, dark pit. Yet at the same time, he didn’t look highly upon the farmers who left GaztaKoop in order to go to more established dairy farms and who didn’t pay their shares. They were traitors and ball-less cowards… Martin’s widow remembered that he sometimes used vulgar words. It was worse when he was chatting with one of his comrades of misfortune and the cheap wines of Europe heated their spirits.

The woman, broken by pain, was like a replay of Sisyphus’s parable because by calling me, she wanted me to prove the guilt of those in charge of GaztaKoop in her husband’s suicide. Then, she would go to court where, one day, the trial of these guilty parties would begin. Like Sisyphus, each farmer thought that by taking out loan after loan and not taking a monthly salary they were fetching their stone from the bottom of the deep well. But as soon as they got to the top, the stone slipped through their fingers just to fall back into the deep, endless well. It goes without saying that throughout my investigation, I had not found anything that clearly indicated who was guilty. Or very little anyway. There was a general code of silence surrounding this company.

The Basque world had secrets that would never be revealed. They were mentioned in hushed tones. Most often, they were kept quiet, just in case. It was incredible because people were generally up to date with what was going on. If the question was asked directly, suddenly no one knew a thing.

“You’re just nosy…”

“What happened exactly?”

“I won’t tell you. You know, it’s between us.”

I didn’t like when the person I was talking to treated me like a child. It seemed to me that they ignored the fact that I was an adult. I only used the childish language in Basque with babies and with my mom. This language, used one-sidedly, discouraged me, but I kept asking questions without ever being able to shed light on the mystery. That’s what happened during my volunteer investigation for Martin’s widow. The doors closed in front of me, except for the farmers who had deserted GaztaKoop. The second I said the name of the cheese shop, the farmers got heated and chains of curses ravaged their pale lips. I wasn’t able to control the tsunami of anger. I jotted down their statements and distanced myself from them while thanking them at the same time. I wrote down the structure of what could be a scam without it being completely obvious. It was already that.

I asked for a meeting with the director of the cooperative. He answered me with a loud no on the other end of the line, adding that if I kept asking strange questions, I’d have a few things coming and that I’d end up in court. The threats of this man, who was charming, as it so happens, when he appeared in the newspapers, scared me. It didn’t seem like he felt responsible for Martin’s death. I ended up with nothing except notebook pages that I blackened out with a restless pencil despite numerous attempts to gather information. I wasn’t very proud of myself when I found myself in front of the widow with empty hands:

“I led an investigation, but nothing certain came out of it. Even if I have suspicions, that’s all I have. No one wanted to accept being responsible for Martin’s suicide, which is understandable…”

“I knew you wouldn’t succeed… You have no nerve. You didn’t look where you had to. If only you were more daring…”

“I would’ve ended up in court… One of those powerful people would have accused me of having defamed their reputation and I can’t end up in prison right now!”

“I feel like crying, she tells me softly, when I see that even Martin’s farmer friends didn’t even want to talk to you…”

“Exactly!”

The law of silence is infinite. Wolves won’t eat each other. Monsters organized amongst themselves perfectly, caressing and embracing, so that no one would snitch. That’s not the problem. Everyone is free to do as they wish. But in this case, someone lost their life. With his final breath, he left his flock wandering in the pastures, his wife without a husband, his farm without an heir and with debts. His own debts, and ones that came from others. The neighbors rented the widow’s lands, and the flock was put up for sale in the pages of the union’s newspaper. There was always someone, a predator on the prowl, who waited for a neighbor’s demise to grow, develop, and increase their means of production.

I went to Martin’s funeral. We were at the region’s school of agriculture in the morning. The coffin was put into the ground while a trickle of rainwater was running towards the hole and the villagers were singing at the top of their voices: “Lord Give Eternal Joy to This Lost Soul” and “The Night Comes So Dark”. I spotted the widow. When the cross-bearer accompanied by the priest moved away, I went up to offer her my condolences.

“Come to the wake, she murmured to me, I need to speak with you. Yesterday, I was at the bank and there are some things that I don’t understand. This cursed cemetery isn’t the place to talk about it. I’ll wait for you! Make sure to come!”

“I don’t have a lot of time this evening, but I’ll come tomorrow… I’ll pass by your place… I promise!”

She accepted by lowering her head. On that day, I also felt crushed by a deep sadness. So many farmers commit suicide. A lot of workers do too. I knew some in each of the two categories. I racked my brains telling myself that the work world had become a morbid world. Why didn’t we change jobs when it provoked these mortal evils? Or when the bosses made us suffer this terrible moral harassment? Why? Because we had houses to pay for, SUVs, education, LED televisions that covered an entire wall in the living room, pools… So many things, so many worries. We were chained in like Mehetegi’s unfortunate dog.

The next day as promised, I found myself at the Kako farm in front of a cup of coffee placed on a floral tablecloth by Martin’s widow. I listened to her for a long while then she led me to the sheep pen. I nearly fainted when I saw the noose hanging from the wooden beam. I didn’t interrupt her:

“I’m going to tell you how it happened. On that evening, like every evening, he went to the sheep pen and, even though my husband had been very upset recently, I was lying peacefully in bed. Farmers have a tough job. You wouldn’t understand. But that’s how it is. They don’t have a minute to rest with this ever-present feeling of helplessness hanging over them. There is a false solidarity surrounding them. When everything is going well, they are with you, but when you fall, they surround you and wait for your downfall… On that morning, I was surprised to find myself in an empty bed: did he get up before sunrise? I hurried to the kitchen. No one. I started to shout. No response. I did this until I headed towards the sheep pen… And there, the most horrible sight. My husband, hanging from this wooden beam, his eyes rolled back, open to the void… I called emergency services and then I don’t remember anything after that…”

She caught her breath and swallowed back tears. I was speechless, incredulous.

“The Otsabide police along with the firefighters and the EMTs invaded the sheep pen. The banker called me as soon as he heard about Martin’s passing. He wanted to see me immediately to discuss a troubling circumstance. The body was still warm, and he wanted to talk to me about debts that my husband had incurred to be able to carry out his agricultural work. What nerve! Can you believe it? That’s when he told me that my husband had taken out two loans for GaztaKoop’s accounts in his own name. I went crazy and if I had the strength, I would’ve made him choke on his fake salesman laugh—the laugh of someone who pushes people off the edge into the abyss—but I stayed petrified, nailed to the chair. While leaving the bank, I chatted with Gaston, a neighbor who was involved in this story. He explained to me that this decision was taken during a general meeting to avoid the bankruptcy of the company!”

The widow began to cry. I took her in my arms and between two sobs without positive consequences, she explained to me why she needed my rural detective skills:

“I absolutely need to know who made this violent proposal that led to Martin’s suicide… I hope that you will get more answers than me because they all told me the same thing: members of the cooperative are committed like husband and wife, united for the good and the bad, responsible for individual and collective debts. So, when asked to take out a loan in their own name, a lot of them did!”

“I’m going to try to shed some light on this story…”

I didn’t add another word.

Going through my belongings for my move to Haute-Soule, I found my black notebook that proved that I hadn’t completed my mission. Proof that I didn’t help Martin’s widow get any clarity on the story because all of the doors had been rusted shut, closed like peoples’ mouths. I had led many investigations throughout the last three decades and I remember this one as a dark spot on my record. I really regretted it, especially for the widow. Soon, I’ll be in Erratzü, far from the world and its suffering. I’ll be admiring the glowing sunrises and sunsets alongside Joana Garralda, my lifelong fiancée.

What do I do with this notebook? Throw it away? Keep it?

Itxaro Borda (1959, Bayonne) is a Basque author with a background in agriculture and history. She worked for the French post office for some time. She now lives and works full-time as an author in Bayonne. She began her literary career in 1982 when she founded the literary journal Maiatz with Lucien Etxezaharreta. She won the 2002 Prix Euskadi for her novel 100% basque. She is most known for her series of detective novels with detective Amaia Ezpeldoi, the last of which, Euri zitalari esker / Thanks to the Acid Rain, was published in 2021. In addition to her novels, she has also published many poems.

Clayton McKee (1993, Pennsylvania) is a writer and translator who is currently splitting time between Nice, France, and Pennsylvania. In 2023, he became Director of Trafika Europe after having worked for the journal since 2015. His first full-length translation, The Disappearance of Jim Sullivan by Tanguy Viel,  was published in 2021 by Dalkey Archive Press. In 2022, he became a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles in Comparative Literature. He is currently working on his dissertation focused on literature published in French about the 2011 Tunisian Revolution.

Thanks to the Acid Rain by Itxaro Borda, translated from the author’s French translation by Clayton McKee

Euri zitalari esker by Itxaro Borda

“Erratzü izeneko baserrian nehork ez zidan erranen nola bizi, nola hausnar, nola solasta, nori, norekin, zertaz. Hiru hamarkada lehenago ikasi nuen zuberera bueltatuko nintzen. Ideia garatzen nuenean, ene bakartasunean, halako argitasun batek gatibatzen zidan garuna: zoriontsu sentitzen nintzen, belatxen pare hegaldatzen ziren sintaxiak, labana zorrotz zebilen perpausen ironia, Santa Graziko hartzaren urratsetan lehertzen zen fonemen kordela. Joana Garraldak halaber, Zaraitzuko euskalkia lantzen zuen, arraiki, euskal hizkuntzaren aberastasun minberari omenaldi hunkitua eskainiz.

Phaedra Out-Take # 2 pieza hasi zen. Monika Wittigen Les guérillères liburua eskuetan hartu nuen. Oraino ere zirrara hazten zidan hainbeste maitatu nuen lanak. Edonon irakurtzen nuen, ez nuela beste liburu beharrik pentsatzeraino. Gustatzen zitzaidan orrialdeen artetik ernatzen zen kalipua, aldarrikapenen eta deiadarren akuilu zizta eta parterik parte zabaltzen zen epikotasun sustatzailea. Galdua nintzen aldietan, liburura bihurtzen nintzen, bidea erakutsiko zidala esperoan.

Proust, Dostoievski, Woolf eta Rimbaud atxikiko nituen. Gainerakoak sarean atzeman nitzakeen edo Atharratzeko mediateka publikoan, halakorik baldin bazen. Egiaz, edizio merkeak ziren nireak eta negu minetan sua asetzeko aise balia zitezkeen. Ez nuen espanturik egiten, bereziki lagunekin edo ene inkestetan, bezero batzuen bibliotekaren aitzinean kausitzen nintzenean: larruzko obrak zeuzkaten, egilearen izenak eta tituluak urrez horniturik zeramatzatenak. Ez nituen gutiziatzen, aperentziarik ere ez. Eta Erratzün ez nukeen irakurtzeko beta handirik…

Langabezian sartu berria nintzen Joanak deitu ninduenean, berarekin bizitzera gonbidatuz. Baiona hiriko garbitzaile enpresak kanporatu gintuen Karim, Dede eta hirurok. Hirurogei urteetara hurbiltzen ari ginelako, zahar kuskuilatuak izanki, ez ginen beraz zuzendaritzaren gustuko, lanerako gai. Langabezia saria erdiesteko legeak ere aldatu zituen gobernura heldu baiko Macron presidenteak: aberatsenei fortunaren gaineko zerga kendu zien eta langabetuei kobratze epeak murriztu: hori justizia, harri batez bi txori, biba hi, biba Manü!

Hoberik eztün/k…

Bihotz elektronikoaren taupadak ur irakinaren burbuilekin ezkontzen ziren ene belarrietan, Tangerine Dreamen melodiei esker. Memoria harrotzen zidaten: negar malkoak mateletan behera jaisten zitzaizkigun, zikin-biltzeko azken turnea egin genuenean. Dederekin, zakarren ustel urrina estimatzen ikasia nuen, larruari lotzen zitzaion kontsumo gizarte gastatzailearena zen, jasanezina, batzuetan sabelak inarrosten zituena. Goitika bukatzen genuen eta elkarri besarka, sosegu bila. Joana Garraldak erosi etxean bederen, ez zatekeen horrelakorik. Sukalde zapala zuen, leihotik Madalena tontorra ageri zen, ezkaratz zabala eta hiru logela nahikoa handi bazituen, bakoitzak gurea edukitzeko eta lagunik bagenu, baten bat asteburua gurekin pasatzera gonbidatzeko.

Erran gabe zihoan baratze bat ere bazegoela, sagarrondo umil baten aldamenean. Hor nintzen aitzur eta jorra ariko, musika entzuteko eta liburu pornografikoak irakurtzeko partez. Baratzearekiko etxea ukanen nuen nik ere, oinarrizko euskaldunaren betidaniko ametsa egiaztatuz, eta ez nuen hutsik egin behar.

— Bai, Joana, horra nüzü…

— Noiz jinko zrade?

— Eztakit, dagün hilabetean, eman zagün.

— Zre kanbra ginen dit…

“Ederki, ederki” errepikatuz pausatu nuen telefonoaren besakia. Eta hara… Erratzüra mudatzeko prestatzen ari nintzen, kasko zokoa distira. Mugikorrean, berehala haztatu nituen Joanak igorri argazkiak, estatu onean zen baserriaren gorputzaz eta saihetseko baratzeaz gain, ogia erretzeko labea zehaztu nuen egurrentzako aterpean bertan: maiteko nuen, maiteko nuenez, Joana kuttunak apailatzen zidan bizimodua, deus gabe, edo hain gutxirekin, baina behar nuen guztiarekin. Funtsean zer zen behar nuena, amodio apurraz, suaren berotasunaz eta eguzki hotzaren azkorrietako ñir-ñirraz aparte?

Maria Mercè Marçalen eta Marguerite Durasen obrak kartoi batera bota nituen, Xora eta Fargo filmak ondotik, ene gogapen osoa bilbatzen zuten kanpoko hiru disko gogorrak eta inkestetan noiztenka erabiltzen nuen argazki makina numeriko erosoa. Bat-batean, ene azkeneko ikerketaren karneta ikusi nuen, Dune eta Hyperion eleberrien artean. Ez nintzen hunkitzera ausartzen, huts egin nuelako Otsabideko Martiren buruaz beste egitearen arduradunak argira eta justiziara ekartzeko betekizunean. Ez nuen lortu. Aitortzekoa nuen. Zenbait egun lehenago, preseski, Baionako merkatari karrika batean, Martiren alarguna gurutzatu nuen, beltzez bezti, triste alabaina, begitartea lurrera.

Hurbildu nintzaion. Agurtzeko. Urrats bat egin zuen gibelera. Ahurra ukatu zidan, baina malko artean, egun ona desiratu hala ere. Presatua zen arren, berri etsituak eman zizkidan:

— Ez da aise maldan gora berriz hupatzea, badakizu… ez, zuk ez dakizu, lehen zailtasunarekin batera amore ematen duzulako… Barkatu ez nuen gaiztoa izan nahi, ihes joan zait…

— Lasai —ihardetsi nion—, ez du axola. Ohitura daukat. Inkestak ez ditut beti bururaino eramaten ahal, egoera, botereak, sinesteak, usteak… bada beti zerbait kabitzen ez dena…

Urrundu zen, jende aferatuen tartetik. Bizitza amilduaren marra konkorra jarraitu nuen begiz, saldoetan desagertu zen arte. Eta Martiren suizidioaren inguruko zertzeladak oro etorri zitzaizkidan garuna kolpatzera. Urte batzuk lehenago, alta, ez zen batere gaizki hasi bere eta partzuergoa ordaintzeko diruz lagundu zuen GaztaKoop kooperatibaren arteko istorioa. Eskualdeko laborariak ziren juntatzen, ardi esnearekiko ekoizpenak biderkatzeko eta erosoago saltzeko. Alimaleko egoitza bat eraiki zuten proiektuaren eramaileek Basagaitzeko eremu hutsean, langileak hartu zituzten eta CAC40ko enpresa ohoratuetan bezala urrez pagatu zuten zuzendari bat.

Euskal prentsan eta jendartean, GaztaKoop eredu moduan aipatzen zen, salmenta politika erasokorra zeramaten, laborariak borondatez ibiltzen ziren dendaz denda gasnak, gurinak eta esneki ezberdinak hirietako bezeroei proposatzeko. Baina, luze gabe, zurrumurru batzuen arabera, ikasi zen GaztaKoopek alimaleko zorra bazuela, anitzetan bankarrot egiteko zorian izan zela eta noski, kooperatiba bat izanez, zuloaren arduradunak laborariak berak ziren. Sugeak bere burua klikatzen zuen, behialako paradisuko irudietan nola.

Biltzar nagusi sutsuak deitu ziren, nekazariak nekazarien aurka bermatzen zebiltzan, zuzendaritzak proposatu ideia bikaina ardatz: bakoitzak joan behar zuen bankura, enpresaren moltsak betetzeko, bere izenean mailegu baten egitera. Martik GaztaKoopen funtsean sinesten zuen bai eta onartu Bankura joatea, berrogeita hamar mila euroko kreditu lerroa irekitzeko. Bankuak, bistan dena, bidea zabaldu zion, zordunekin egiten baitzituen berunezko barrabilak. Izenpetze unean, negarra begian zeukan, zepoan zegoen. Gainera, bazuen bi urte bere esne produkzioa ez ziola kooperatibak pagatzen eta, segur aski, esperantza murritza baitzen egoera hobetzeko, ez zioten sekula deus pagatuko.

Martiren alargunak kontatzen zidan garai haiek biziki zailak suertatu zitzaizkiela. Iruditzen zitzaien nehork ez zituela entzuten, nehork ez zituela ulertzen, nehork ez baitzuen GaztaKoopen eskandalua aipatzen, ez irratietan, are gutxiago laborantza sindikatuen kazeten orrialdeetan. Infernurako bidean, beren lerratzea isilean eta gordean pasatzen zen. Euskal mundua, gure mundua, erraten zidan zerbait premiazko azpimarratu nahi bailidan, beti prest zen mobilizatzeko injustizia bat agitzen zenean, Bearnoko edo Frantziako edozein esne transformatze enpresak horrela ekingo bazuen, manifestaldiak antolatuko zituzten, burbuila hantaraziko, agiriak zabalduko alde guztietan… baina GaztaKoopen kasuan, deus ez, euskal gorputzak malgor zirudien. Funtzionamendu zorrez gain, laborari partzuerrak, kooperatibaren gastuen estaltzeko, are zor gehiago beren gain hartzera behartuak ziren.

Bi urte baino ez ziren pasatu kooperatibak bankuan beste mailegu bat egitera bultzatu zituenean, biltzar nagusi nahasi baten karietara. Orduan, laborari zenbaitek ontzia abandonatu zuten, beren hartzeak bertan utzi, baina Martik bezala, askok jarraitzea erabaki zuten, fideltasunez eta konfiantzaz. Putzu ilunean behera zihoan Marti. Ez zituen, hargatik, begi onez ikusten GaztaKoopetik hilabeteko ekoizpena ordaintzen zieten esnetegi handiagoetara joan nekazariak: traidoreak ziren, laxoak, koskoilik gabeak… gordin mintzo zela oroitzen zen Martiren alarguna. Lagunekin biltzen zenean, gogorragoa zen oraindik, Europako ardo merkeak arimak berotzen zituen heinean.

Sisiforen parabola errepikatzen zidan emazte hautsiak, bere senarraren suizidioaren hobendunak GaztaKoopeko eramaileak zirelako bere ustea froga nezan nahi zuelako deitu ninduelarik. Gero, epaitegira joango zen eta han, noizbait, hasiko zen balizko errudunen auzia. Sisifok bezala alabaina, laborari bederak, maileguz mailegu, hilabete sari ukatuz ukatu, pentsatzen zuen harria putzu ilunaren sakonetik jalgitzea, baina kaskora heldu bezain laster, eskuetatik lerratzen zitzaion, hondorik gabeko zolaren zolara eskapatzeko. Erran gabe zihoan, inkesta eraman nuenean, ez nuela hobendunen izendatzeko elementu izpirik kausitu. Edo hain gutxi. Orokorrean, omertà gaitza zen gazta enpresaren inguruan.

Euskal munduan baziren sekula argitu(ko) ez ziren hainbat sekretu. Amen-omenka aipatzen ziren, gehienetan isilean atxikitzen, zer gerta ere. Harrigarria zen, ezen jendeak, gaingiroki jakinean egon arren, xaloki galdetzen zitzaionean, bat-batean deus ez zekien.

— Kurios pinterdi bat baizik ez xira…

— Zer gertatu zen, zuzen?

— Ez dautxut erranen, hori ba’akixu, gure artekoa’uxu…

Ez nuen maite interlokutorea xuka hasten zitzaidalarik. Ene izaera humano adultoa ezeztatzen zidala iruditzen zitzaidan, infantilizatzen ninduela, hots: ni amarekin eta haurtxoekin baino ez nintzen xuka ari. Kasu honetan, xuka unilateralak hozten ninduen eta deus ez bailitzan eleketan jarraitzen nuen, baina ez nuen misterioa urratzea nehoiz lortzen. Martiren alargunaren kontura, urririk egin nuen inkestan, egoera hori biderkatu zitzaidan. Ate guztiak ixten zitzaizkidan, salbu GaztaKoopetik alde egin zuten nekazarienak! Hauek, gaztategiaren izena ahoskatu orduko, sutan jartzen ziren, ezpain zurbiletatik madarikazio kordelak ateratzen zitzaizkien eta nik haserre tsunami hori ez nezakeen menpera. Erranak notatzen nituen eta eskerrak bihurtuz urruntzen nintzen: iruzur motakoaren egitura marraztu nuen, bazen zerbait.

Hitzordua eskatu nion, ausart, kooperatibako zuzendariari. Ezezko borobila eman zidan telefonoaren beste puntatik. Eskakizun zikinak egiten jarraitzen baldin banuen, brikolak agituko zitzaizkidala eta tribunalean bukatuko nuela. Izutzen ninduten gizon plaxentaren —egunkarietan agertzen zenean, hala irudi zuen bederen— mehatxuek. Ez zuen ematen Martiren heriotzaren errua kontzientzian zeramanik. Saia eta saia, ez nintzen deusetara iritsi, esku artean neukan karnet beltzeko orrialdeak arkatz melengez zipriztintzera baino. Ez nintzen sobera fida, alargunaren parean aurkitu nintzenean, petzero:

— Ez dut erreusitu. Inkesta eraman dut, finkorik ezer, nahiz eta susmoak ditudan, gehiagokorik ez. Egiaz, nehork ez du Martiren suizidioaz hobendun izan nahi, pentsatzekoa zen…

— Banekien! Banekien ez zenuela lortuko… alferrontzi bat zara, ez duzu behar den lekuan sudurra sartu, ausartu bazina…

— Auzipetua bururatuko nuen… boteretsu horietatik baten batez gaizki erranka ibili nintzela leporatuko zidaten eta oraintxe bertan preso nintzatekeen!

— Negar egiteko gogoa daukat ikusten dudalarik Martiren laborari adiskideek berek ez dutela zurekin solastatzea onartu…

— Horixe, justuki!

Isiltasunaren legea mugarik gabea zen. Otsoak ez zuen otsoa janen. Mamuak ederki konpontzen ziren, elkarri ferekaz eta musuz, inork ez zezan mihirik aska. Arazorik ez alaina, gizon batek ez balu bizia galdu: hiltzeko orduan artalde osoa utzi zuen larre biluzietan noraezean, emaztea alargun, etxaldea segidarik gabe eta zorrak, bistan dena, bereak eta besteenak. Auzoek lurrak alokatu zizkioten alargunari eta artaldea salgai jarri zuten sindikatuko astekariko erdiko hostoetan. Beti bazen norbait, harrapari antzera, bakanak hedailo erortzearen aiduru, handitzeko, zabaltzeko eta ekoizpen ahalak hedatzeko prest.

Martiren ehortzetan nintzen. Gaztetan, elkarrekin ginen nekazari eskolan. Hilkutxa lurpean jarri zutenean, euri ondoko ur xirripak hobiaren barnera isurtzen ziren bitartean, jendetza kantuz orroaz ari zen “betiereko zoriona hil honi eman otoi Jauna” eta “heldu da gaua ilun-iluna”. Alarguna ikusi nuen eta, gurutzekaria apezarekin joan ondoan, hurbildu nintzaion doluminak emateko, ene partez. Ezpainak doi-doia mugitu zituen:

— Kolaziora etor zaitez —murmuratu zidan—, zurekin hitz egin behar dut. Atzo, bankuan izan naiz eta gauza batzuk ez ditut konprenitzen. Ez da lekua hemen, hilerri likits honetan, horretaz aritzeko. Igurikatuko zaitut. Zatoz gero!

— Gaur ez dut sobera denborarik, baina ados, bihar arte… pasatuko naiz zure etxetik… faltarik gabe.

Kopeta makurtuz ene hitza baietsi zuen. Egun hartan, tristura larriaren zamak lehertzen ninduen ni ere. Hainbeste laborarik bere buruaz beste egiten zuen, hainbeste langilek halaber, bietatik ezagutzen nituen, izpiritua zirikan ari nintzen, lana jada zeregin morbidoa bilakatua ote zen galdeka. Zergatik ez ginen ofizioz aldatzen eritasun latzak eragiten zituenean, nagusiek zirrika morala jasanarazten zigutenean, zergatik? Etxeak genituelako pagatzeko, SUV kotxeak, haurren ikasketak, egongelako horma guztia ezkutatzen zuen LED telebista, batzuetan igerilekuak, hainbat gauza, hainbat kezka, loturik genbiltzan, Mehetegiko xakurraren antzera.

Hitzeman bezala, biharamunean Kakoenean nintzen, Martiren alargunak sukaldeko mahai lilitsuan pausatu kafe kikaratara baten aitzinean. Emaztea entzun nuen luzaz eta kasik bihozgabetu nintzen arditegiko sunber batetik soka puska bat begietsi nuenean. Ez nion elasturia moztu:

— Erranen dizut nola gertatu zen. Arrats hartan, arrats guztietan bezala, arditegira joan zen eta ni ohera, lasai, nahiz eta senarra arranguratua zebilen hondar hilabeteotan. Lan nekeza dute laborariek, hori zuk ez duzu konprenitzen ahal bistan dena, baina hala da, hatsa hartzeko betarik ez, kezkak milaka, ezintasun sentimendu hori beti, alegiazko elkartasuna bazterretan, ongi zarelarik denak zurekin dira eta den mendrena flakatzen baldin bazara, hor dituzu denak inguruan, noiz amilduko zaren zain… Goiz hartan, harritu nintzen ohea hutsik kausitzeaz: argi-zirrintan jaiki zena? Zertarako? Sukaldera ernatu eta han ere nehor ez, oihu egiten nion, arraposturik ez, arditegira zuzentzea erabaki nuen arte… eta han, izugarria, gizona sunber honetan, lepotik zintzilik, begiak bihurdikatuak, hutsean zabalik… Suhiltzaileak deitu nituen, ez naiz denez oroitzen hortik at…

Hatsa hartu zuen. Malko bat dragatu. Mutu nengoen. Sinesgaitz bezala.

— Suhiltzaileekin batera anbulantzia eta Otsabideko jendarmeak hurbildu ziren gure arditegira. Martiren hil berria jakin orduko bankeroak telefonatu zidan, berehala ikusi nahi ninduela, egoera larri batez solastatzeko. Hilotza oraino ketan zegoen eta senarrak laborantzan iraun ahal izateko egin zorrak aipatu nahi zizkidan hark. Zer kopeta! Bazauzu? Hor zidan salatu bi mailegu bazituela, GaztaKoop enpresaren kontu eginak, bere izen propioan. Erotu nintzen, indarrik izan banu, bere saltzaile eta jendeak zepora akuilatzeko irri zuria irentsaraziko nion, baina ttattit gelditu nintzen, aulkian iltzatua. Kaxtonekin hitz egin nuen bankutik jalgitzean, hura ere istorio horren partzuerra zelako, eta bai, esplikatu zidan, biltzar nagusi batean erabaki zen laborariek prestamu pertsonalak eginen zituztela, enpresaren bankarrota ekiditeko!

Hipaka lehertu zen alarguna. Besoetan tinkatu nuen, eta ondorio baikorrik gabeko sudur korrok artean, nire detektibe rural gisako laguntza zergatik behar zuen azaldu zidan:

— Behar dut absolutuki jakin nortzuek egin zuten Marti heriora tirriatuko zukeen proposamen zakar hori… espero dut nik ukanaz beste ihardespenik erdietsiko duzula zuk, betikoa, kooperatibaren partzuerrak senar-emazteak bezala direla, onean eta txarrean elkartuak, bederazka zorren arduradun, eta beraz, maileguak egitea eskatu zitzaienean, berak zirelako zuzenean buruzagiak!

— Saiatuko naiz afera argitzen…

Ez nion besterik erran.

Etxez aldatzeko puskak bereizten eta biltzen nenbilenean atzeman nuen karnet azal beltzak ederki frogatzen zuen ez nuela lortu, huts egin nuela, ez niola biderik ireki Martiren alargunari, ateak oro zerratuak zirelako, giltzarrapoz, ahoak bezain. Afera asko banituen ikertuak azken hiru hamarkadetan, eta hau zen gogoan neraman puntu latz bakarra, damu nuen zinez, batez ere alargunarentzat. Laster, Erratzü baserrian biziko nintzen, mundutik eta munduaren pairamen kordeletatik urrun. Egunsenti eta iluntze gorriak miresten, Joana Garraldaren aldamenean.

Zer egin karnetaz? Atxik? Aurtik?”

Itxaro Borda (1959, Bayonne) is a Basque author with a background in agriculture and history. She worked for the French post office for some time. She now lives and works full-time as an author in Bayonne. She began her literary career in 1982 when she founded the literary journal Maiatz with Lucien Etxezaharreta. She won the 2002 Prix Euskadi for her novel 100% basque. She is most known for her series of detective novels with detective Amaia Ezpeldoi, the last of which, Euri zitalari esker / Thanks to the Acid Rain, was published in 2021. In addition to her novels, she has also published many poems.

Daisy by Máire Zepf

Daisy by Máire Zepf

Part One

Daisy

1. Girl in the mirror

I am
               Daisy.
As ordinary as the flower.

I’d like to be
               brave
                              brash
                                           bonkers.

I’d love to be
               fiesty
fierce
free.

Or blonde
bold
bad.

But I’m not.
Fifteen years old
and as ordinary as
daisies.

2. I don’t like school

According to the science teacher
everything on earth
is made of
atoms.

Metal, wood, plants,
ev-ery-thing.
Even ourselves.

Made of teeny tiny invisible
atoms.

But she’s wrong.

At school,
everything is made of
rules.

Especially the teachers.

Take Mrs Clarke, the year head, for example.
If she cut herself,
bleeding painfully,
she would drip rules
not blood.

She opens her mouth and
out
shoots
a barrage of
complaints
threats
orders.

Don’t wear your skirt like that!

Don’t walk there!

Don’t wear make-up!

Don’t talk to me like that!

Don’t run!

Don’t leave your bag there!

Don’t!
Don’t!
Don’t!
Don’t!

‘Don’t bother!’

says Erin.

As long as I have Erin,
everything is ok.

3. Bestie

There’s no better friend under the sun than Erin.

She’s my
BFF
Best Friend Forever.

We go together like a
               bucket and spade
               tea and biscuits
               thunder and lightning
               Wifi and password.

4. Purple Polish

Erin is lying on my bed

pointing her feet like a dancer

brushing strokes of
               sparkly
                              purple
                                             polish
                              onto her toes.

‘Did you hear that Maeve is going out with Ronan again?’
she says
rolling her eyes and laughing.
‘We’ll never hear the end of it,’ I sigh.

Maeve loves talking
herself up
even more than she loves
talking down
to us.

Erin can imitate Maeve’s voice perfectly.
She jumps up from the bed,
hand on cocked hip,
just like Maeve.
She poses a pout on her face.
‘Daisy, sweetie,’ she says in a
               stretched
                              breathy
                                              drawl.
‘Have you had a boyfriend yet, honey?’

Then the fake laugh
like breaking glass
exactly like Maeve.

5. The Feudal System

We learned about the Feudal System in first year.
There were diagrams, showing the

                                                                           King
                                                             the Lords
                                              and the Knights, keeping control of
                               The lowly people, the Peasants at the bottom.

We’re still operating in a feudal system here.

Maeve and her disciples are at the top.
They’re not rich, but
                              beautiful.
                                             Preening peacocks
                                                            posing in the mirror.

Next are the sporty ones.
               Athletic, lithe, driven.

Under that comes
                              the clever.
(As long as they socialise
and mask the fact that
they’d rather have their
noses
stuck in a book.)

Second from the bottom are the
               boring people.
We are the plain ones
like
               vanilla ice-cream
               salted crisps
               bread and butter.
We’re not different enough to be at the bottom.

With the
               oddballs,
               the misfits,
               the nerds
on the outside looking in.

6. A cup of tea

Knock knock
on my bedroom door.

Mum,
tea in hand for me.

A cup that says
               welcome-home-from-school
and

               is-everything-alright?
and

I’d-like-to-check-you’re-not-on-your-phone-instead-of-doing-your-homework.

7. The Stone Age

I’ve never counted
the number of times
my mum says
‘put down your phone’
in one day.

The figure would be like
               the number of keys on the keyboard
                              or daisies in the garden.

But I have to remember
that she herself was a teenager
in another time
on another planet
without internet.

Without.
Internet.

Imagine that.

She tells stories
of life before Google.
In the Stone Age.
Trips to the library
to do homework
because all the information lay
in books.
Number-freckled index cards
telling you
the location of books
in the absence of a digital catalogue.

Maps made of paper,
directions from strangers.
Getting lost.

You didn’t see a photograph
before you paid hard cash in a shop
to have them printed.
Pictures were without filters.
#nofilter
#ouch

It should come as no surprise that
Mum doesn’t understand.

Máire Zepf was the first Children’s Writing Fellow of Northern Ireland in 2017–2019. She has written over sixteen books for children ranging from picture books to a young adult verse novel. She has won the KPMG/CBI Children’s Book of the Year, two White Ravens, two Oireachtas Awards for Fiction, and much more for her writing. She is also an active community organizer, creating workshops and collaborating with various artists and writers. She strives to inspire children and works in both Irish and English. Nóinín / Daisy, excerpted here, won an Oireachtas Award for Fiction and was nominated for the 2020 KPMG Children’s Book of the Year.

Daisy by Máire Zepf

Nóinín by Máire Zepf

Cuid a haon

Nóinín

1. Cailín sa sc´athán

Is mise
               Nóinín.
Chomh comónta leis an bhláth.

Ba mhaith liom bheith
               cróga
                              callánach
                                           craiceáilte.

Ba bhreá liom bheith
               fionn
                             feiceálach
                                           fiáin.

nó dalba
               dána
                             dainséarach.

Ach nílim.
Cúig bliana déag d’aois
is chomh comónta le
                             nóiníní.

2. Ní maith liom an scoil

Dúirt an múinteoir eolaíochta
go bhfuil gach rud ar domhan
               déanta as
adaimh.

Is cuma cé acu miotal, adhmad,
               plandaí
                             nó muid féin.

Adaimh bheaga bhídeacha
               dhofheicthe.

Ach níl an ceart aici.

Ar scoil,
               tá gach rud déanta as
rialacha.

Go háirithe na múinteoirí.

Glac Bean Uí Ruairc, an ceann bliana, mar shampla.
Dá ngearrfadh sí í féin,
í ag cur fola go nimhneach,
bheadh rialacha ag sileadh aisti
in áit fola.

Osclaíonn sí a béal agus scaoileann amach
gearáin
bagairtí
orduithe.

Ná caith do sciorta mar sin!

Ná siúil ansin!

Ná caith smideadh!

Ná labhair liom mar sin!

Ná bí ag rith!

Ná fág do mhála ansin!
Ná!
Ná!
Ná!
Ná!

‘Ná bac!’

Sin a deir Eimear.

A fhad is atá Eimear liom
tá gach rud i gceart.

3.BFF

Níl cara faoin spéir níos fearr ná Eimear.

Is í mo
BFF
Buanchara Fírinneach Feasta.

Fóireann muid dá chéile cosúil le
               buicéad agus spád
               tae agus brioscaí
               tintreach agus toirneach
               Wifi agus pasfhocal.

4. Snas corcra

Tá Eimear ina luí ar mo leaba

a cosa sínte amach cosúil le damhsóir

í ag cur snas
drithleach
corcra
ar a ladhracha.

‘Ar chuala tú go bhfuil Clodagh ag dul amach le Rónán arís?’ a deir sí
ag casadh a súile agus ag gáire.
‘Ní chluinfidh muid a dheireadh,’ a deirim.

Is breá le Clodagh bheith ag caint fúithi féin,
níos mó fiú ná a bheith
ag caitheamh anuas orainne.

Tá Eimear ábalta guth Clodagh a chur uirthi féin go foirfe.
Léimeann sí anuas ón leaba,
lámh ar a cromán aici
díreach cosúil le Clodagh.
Cuireann sí puisín uirthi féin.
‘A Nóinín, a thaisce,’ a deir sí i nglór
slóchtach
fadálach,
‘nach raibh buachaill agat go fóill, a chroí?’

Ansin an gáire bréagach
cosúil le gloine ag briseadh
díreach cosúil le Clodagh.

5. An córas feodach

D’fhoghlaim muid an Córas Feodach sa chéad bhliain.
Bhí léaráidí ann, leis an

                                                                       Rí
na Tiarnaí
agus Ridirí ag coinneáil smacht ar
na daoine is ísle, na Tuathánaigh ag an bhun ar fad.

Tá córas feodach i bhfeidhm againne go fóill.

Tá Clodagh agus a deisceabail ag an bharr.
Ní saibhir atá siad, ach
álainn
mar a bheadh péacóga
á slíocadh féin sa scáthán.

Ansin, tá na daoine spórtúla.
Aclaí, ábalta, tiomanta.

Faoi sin, tá
clisteacht.
A fhad is atá saol sóisialta acu,
is gur féidir leo a cheilt
gurb fhearr leo bheith
ag léamh leabhar.

Sa dara háit ón bhun, tá na daoine
leadránacha.
Muidne na daoine pléineáilte
Cosúil le
huachtar reoite vanilla
criospaí Ready Salted
arán agus im.
Níl muid difriúil go leor le bheith ag an bhun.

Leis na
héin chorra
Nerds, na saoithíní
daoine aisteacha
suntasacha
ar an taobh amuigh ag amharc isteach.

6. Cupán tae

Cnag cnag
ar dhoras mo sheomra leapa.

Mamaí
agus cupán tae ina glac aici dom.

Cupán a deir
fáilte-abhaile-ón-scoil
agus

an-bhfuil-gach-rud-ceart-go-leor?
agus

ba-mhaith-liom-seiceáil-nach-bhfuil-tú-ag-dul-ar-an-fhón-in-áit-a-bheith-ag-déanamh-d’obair-bhaile.

7. An chlochaois

Ní dhearna mé riamh cuntas
ar a oiread uaireanta
a deir mo mham
‘cuir uait an fón sin’
in aon lá amháin.

Bheadh an uimhir ar nós
líon na gcnaipí ar an mhéarchlár
nó nóiníní sa ghairdín.

Ach caithfidh mé cuimhneamh
go raibh sí fein mar dhéagóir
in am eile
ar phláinéad eile
gan idirlíon.

Gan.
Idirlíon.

Samhlaigh sin.

Insíonn sí scéalta
faoin saol roimh Google.
Sa chlochaois.
Turais chun na leabharlainne
chun obair bhaile a dhéanamh
mar go raibh an t-eolas ar fad
i leabhair.
Cártaí beaga le huimhreacha
le hinsint duit
cá raibh na leabhair
mar nach raibh catalóg dhigiteach ann.

Léarscáileanna páipéir,
treoracha ó strainséirí.
Bheith caillte.

Ní fhaca tú grianghraf
go dtí gur íoc tú airgead i siopa
chun iad a fháil priontáilte.
Bhí na pictiúir gan scagairí.
#nofilter
#ouch

Níor chóir go gcuirfeadh sé iontas ar bith orm
nach dtuigeann Mam.

Máire Zepf was the first Children’s Writing Fellow of Northern Ireland in 2017–2019. She has written over sixteen books for children ranging from picture books to a young adult verse novel. She has won the KPMG/CBI Children’s Book of the Year, two White Ravens, two Oireachtas Awards for Fiction, and much more for her writing. She is also an active community organizer, creating workshops and collaborating with various artists and writers. She strives to inspire children and works in both Irish and English. Nóinín / Daisy, excerpted here, won an Oireachtas Award for Fiction and was nominated for the 2020 KPMG Children’s Book of the Year.

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