The School Bag


Seán Ó Riordáin
‘Come here,’said Turnbull, ‘till you see the sadness
    In the horse’s eyes,
If you had such big hooves under you there’d be sadness
    In your eyes too.’

It was clear that he understood so well the sadness
    In the horse’s eyes,
And had pondered it so long that in the end he’d plunged
    Into the horse’s mind.

I looked at the horse to see the sadness
    Obvious in its eyes,
And saw Turnbull’s eyes looking in my direction
    From the horse’s head.

I looked at Turnbull one last time
    And saw on his face
Outsize eyes that were dumb with sadness —
    The horse’s eyes.                                              

1952 - translated by Patrick Crotty