Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) on this year’s Irish exam Part II

June 12, 2017

Is Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) on your Irish Exam?

Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní) is a poem written by Nuala Ní Dhomhaill, and one of five poems assigned for students to study in preparation for Irish Paper 2.

You can find the English translation of Mo ghrá-sa (idir lúibíní), plus our analysis of it, below.

My Love (in brackets)

My love is not

Like the blackthorn blossom

That grows in gardens

(Or on any tree at all)


And if he has anything to do

With daisies

They will grow out of his ears

(When he’s eight feet under)

 

No harmonising green

His eyes (or No Musical stream his eyes)

(They’re too close together

To begin with)

 

And if silk is smooth

The hairs on his head

(Like Shakespeare’s Dark Lady)

Are thorny wires

 

But it doesn’t matter

He gives me

Apples

(And grapes when he’s in good humour)


My Love (in brackets) {an intriguing title – it implies that much of what the speaker loves about her ‘Love’ is ‘in brackets’, hidden beneath his exterior; and it complements the technique the poet uses throughout, using brackets to reveal more information about the poem’s subject and to give us a better understanding of her love for him)

 

My love is not

Like the blackthorn blossom

That grows in gardens

(Or on any tree at all)

 

And if he has anything to do

With daisies

They will grow out of his ears

(When he’s eight feet under)

 

No harmonising green (‘harmonising’ – produce a pleasing visual combination)

His eyes (or no musical stream his eyes)

(They’re too close together

To begin with) (these three stanzas emphasise the fact that the speaker’s ‘love’ is no cliché, nor is her love for or perception of him clichéd; she refuses to describe him in more typically poetic terms and mocks this type of poetry playfully)

 

And if silk is smooth

The hairs on his head

(Like Shakespeare’s Dark Lady)

Are thorny wires (adds to the sense that the speaker’s ‘love’ is somewhat rough or coarse, at least visually; Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Lady’ is believed to be his muse for a number of his sonnets)

 

But it doesn’t matter (the fact that the speaker’s ‘love’ is not a more traditional object of desire and affection ‘doesn’t matter’ to the speaker; she loves who he is and what he does)

He gives me

Apples

(And grapes when he’s in good humour) (one simple example of what the speaker’s ‘love’ does to make her love him)

You're done! Want more? Mo GhráSa (Idir Lúibíní) Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill Ardleibhéal notes exclusive to iRevise.com!

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