Celia de Fréine

Celia de Fréine

Celia de Fréine is a poet, playwright, screenwriter, and librettist who writes in Irish and English.

She has published six collections of poetry, most recently cuir amach seo dom : riddle me this: (Arlen House, 2014). Awards for her poetry include the Patrick Kavanagh Award (1994), Gradam Litríochta Chló Iar-Chonnachta (2004) and the British Comparative Literature Association Translation Award (1999).

She has four times won the Oireachtas Award for best full length play and has had many plays produced in both Irish and English. Her screenplays received awards at the New York International Film Festival in 2009 and 2010.

Celia divides her time between Dublin and Connemara.

Please visit Celia de Fréine’s website: www.celiadefreine.com


For Celia Óg

I might not have realised that Sunday
was the date on which night equalled day
had I not heard it mentioned.

Not a day that heralds a change in season,
or a night when spirits call,
but a balance between one order and the other:

a time I can hear the sea
when dream-enfolded
because your heart is beating

on a tiny photo,
making the future certain
as the short evenings that lie ahead,

fresh as the scent of wild mint,
solid as that bridge
built by the Romans.


A new dream wanted to caress her:
it knocked on the window,
its scent sang a lullaby
but still she slept.

When the cat crept into the house
it followed, squeezing
through the keyhole to her room,

its images folding to origami,
its fragrance pealing
from an out-of-tune bell,

and still she slept
in the cocoon of memory,
the feel of his hand on her cheek:

his scent on her pillow,
his words in her ear fending off all dreams,
all aspiration:

the feel, the scent, the words:
all she needed
to pass the night.

Written and set in La Balestra, Sardinia, both of these poems are translated from the Irish and are published in the collection ‘Aibítir Aoise : Alphabet of an Age (Arlen House 2011)

All poems on this post: © Celia de Fréine
Published with the permission of Celia de Fréine