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.