i.m. Diarmuid Ó Gráinne


after Kuno Meyer


Three things that constitute an artificer.

Three signs of wisdom, three signs of folly.

A deer shedding its horn, a wood shedding

its leaves, cattle shedding their coat. A drop

of blood, a tear-drop, a drop of sweat.

Three smiles that are worse than sorrow,

three silences that are better than speech.

The darkness of mist, the darkness of night,

the darkness of a wood. Three unfortunate

things for a man. Plenty and kindliness

and art. The shout of distributing, the shout

of sitting down, the shout of rising up.

Three fewnesses that are better than plenty.

Patience, closeness, prophecy. Three speeches

that are better than silence, three coffers

whose depth is not known. A fewness

of fine words, a fewness of cows in grass,

a fewness of friends around ale. Truth,

nature, knowledge. Three after-sorrows.

Hush, stop, listen! Three timid brothers.

Three slender things that best support the world.



David Wheatley