First Flowers

A bilingual tanka in Irish and English (5-7-5-7-7 syllables)

the first flowers I picked 
hearing the orphaned earth sigh 
yes, I remember 
          they were my very first friends 
          silent, trusting, so fragile
na blátha a phiocas 
osna na cré ina ndiaidh 
sea is cuimhin liom iad 
          b’iad na chéad chairde agam iad 
          iontaofa, ciúin, leochaileach 

Poem by Gabriel Rosenstock
Painting by Hugo Salmson "Girl Picking Flowers (c. 1883)"

Gabriel Rosenstock is a bilingual poet, haikuist, tankaist, novelist, playwright, translator, essayist, children's author and short story writer. He lives in Dublin, Ireland. He won the inaugural Kotodama International Tanka Contest in 2022 and is a member of Aosdána (the Irish academy of arts & letters).