Cyphers Magazine

Publishing poetry, prose and art since 1975

Mailing list

Join the Cyphers mailing list to be kept up to date with our news and events:



Other languages


Tá filíocht i nGaeilge á foillsiú i Cyphers ó 1975. Dánta annso le Pádraig Ó Gormaile, Aifric Mac Aodha agus Rody Gorman, agus dánta le Sandro Penna agus Ciarán Carson, aistrithe go Gaeilge ag Pearse Hutchinson agus Gabriel Rosenstock.

“File” by Aifric Mac Aodha

(Bhlaiseadh file na Sean-Ghaeilge amhfheoil
an chait roimh dhul i mbun pinn dó)

Ní iarrann sé de chothú
Ach conablach an chait.
Guíonn go mbeadh a ghoile
Á chnaí ag fiacla bioracha,

Go ngreamódh clúmh samhnasach
Ina screamhán dá theanga,
Go mbeadh ingne crúálacha
Ag stolladh a chuid rosc.

“Béal Feirste” by Ciarán Carson
Aistrithe ón mBéarla ag Gabriel Rosenstock


lastall de chrainn tógála
bhuí an longchlóis

fead an loin
san aiteann


láimh le mótarbhealach
tacsaí dubh

ag meirgiú i ngort
na bhfeochadán gorm

“Laghdaigh Mo Phian” by Pearse Hutchinson
Ón Iodáilis le Sandro Penna (1906-1977)


Laghdaigh mo phian, a oíche álainn.
Céas má’s gá mé, ach bronn orm neart.


Gloine bainne i gcearnóg
na deilbhe. Gloine bainne
ó do láimh úr,
ó do láimh shalach chneasta.

“I nGleann Dá Loch” by Rody Gorman

faoin sliabh amach
ón ngleann aniar

i measc
na leac
idir sliabh
is loch
uiscce odhar
an locha

Translations: Finnish

“Fish” by Aki Salmela
Translated by Aki Salmela and Ciaran O’Driscoll

This is a most delicious fish, but rather ugly, that’s why it resembles life as it lies on a steel table in the kitchen so permanently denuded of its element. Its eyes still have the clear translucence of the sea, the deep obverse heaven which might still pass with us as a mystery.

If you press your ear close enough, you might hear the sea whispering from under its huge scales, you might almost make out the quiet message that has risen with it from the heaviness of the deep. All watery depths are dark, it might whisper if it had any inkling of this language, but since it hasn’t, it is content to sigh. And how lightly the sea sighs from the scales of the dead fish, like a sincere joy that life never fully understands about itself in its separate participants. And how lightly the sea whispers in the scales of the dead fish like a nereid in a pleasure we cannot hope to grasp. And how lightly the sea whispers in the scales of the dead fish, like the waves that bring and take this thinking, and all of us who are subdued by it.

And what else might the sea whisper from the scales of the dead fish, if the fish wasn’t dinner for you who wait, so restless at your already-laid table, with an eye on the sea that tosses hungrily towards the moon.

Translations: Hungarian

“Withoot Hope: Slawly, Dourly” by Attila József (1905-1937)
Translated by Tom Hubbard


– Hit’s the end, sir. Here at the shore
Dreich and flet, ye’ve come at lest.
Ye look aroond, tak tent, afore
Ye shak yer heid. Gie ower. That’s best.

Masel, I’m ettlin, withoot lees,
Ti stare it oot, like that: nae bother.
An axe dirls on the shilpit trees
As throu the haar, their leafs fair hover,

As if on nocht, there sits my hert,
A wee-bit body, quiet, shiverin:
While gaithered roond, hushed and alert,
There’s constellations, watchin, shimmerin.

Translations: Italian

“Saba” by Franco Fortini
Translated by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

It’s morning in July
and the water from the garden hose
flies over stone and leaf
And there my wife , certainly happy,
Flourishes the shower of light …

I remember a line of Saba
Only it’s a syllable short. The long
Years I’ve less than loved him
Bothered by his babbled
Passion, his cramped
Cycle of existence …

And now that his book
and my body lie
as a stone or a plant
or a remorseless shadow in the wood
(in the empty sky the sun blazes out
and a rainbow salutes it) I see now
and I’m stunned, as one who sees the truth at last
that poetry is long-lived, like the wanderings of the lost.

You seemed exhausted, your face was marked by pain
But I, who loved you once, knew you at once again

“Untitled” by Sandro Penna
Translated by John McRae

How good to follow you,
calm youth, wandering
about the night-time city.
If you stop at some corner,
I’ll wait at a distance,
at a distance from your peace, – oh
my burning loneliness.

The city was mine, the empty city
at dawn, filled with my one desire.
But my love song, my truest one,
was for everyone else a song unheard.

For Irish and Italian poems in translation at a festival in Italy, click on the link:

Translations: Russian

“Untitled” by Regina Derieva
Translated by J. Kates

The age was iron, and rusted,
completely corroded, like a knife.
with the blunted point of power
that set worlds trembling.
And they carefully clean with sand
a fragment of dull steel,
a terrifying muscle straining
like a primitive lever.

Geography white splotches
exchanged for black prairies.
Snow fell like sunburn, — probably,
soon ash will sift down from the sky.
And with the final war, the final
sensation of bitter sorrow
I look at the other world from the front line
I beg: Lord, give me the sea.
Give me, Lord, the oceanic sea,
the lacy, salty liquid,
where the soul can linger in peace
and not weep, losing courage.

I work
with Corinthian copper,
I use it to make
that I carry
to market, where
nobody buys them.
Nobody buys them,
thinking that the secret
of Corinthian copper
is long

“The Library Tower” by Sergey Stratanovsky
Translated by Anatoly Kudryavitsky

It’s a library tower,
and it pierces the sky.
Hop and vine
twine around
Winding stairs
and storey-sized volumes.
All the locks on Sumerian chains
are rusty.
Black magic is blooming here,
the secret wisdom of Adam.
Some day somebody will apprehend it
and master it-
And time will come to a halt,
An angel will furl the sky.

Translations: Vietnamese

“How Bitter” by Bui Minh Quoc
Translated by George Evans and Nguyen Qui Duc

The machine that violates man’s dignity
has the kind and gentle face of a farmer.
Foolishly round and round
it turns,
ceaselessly teaching lessons of morality.
How many still believe in it?

How bitter the truth is,
how ironic.
All my life I worked like a fanatic
to build up that machine

“I Walk Into Town” by Huu Thinh
Translated by George Evans and Nguyen Qui Duc

I walk into town
Smelling of fresh hay
Beneath a clump of seashell clouds
One sees when the weather changes.

I’m often withered like the trees,
Sad like water –
Three, no, seven unclear mirrors
With so many turns.

I walk a rough road,
No one pays attention, but
Suddenly they gather and
I fall in the mud.

Without moving to help
They watch to relieve their boredom.

I’m reminded of mother
Quietly advising me before I left.
I wrote a quick letter
But said nothing about falling down.

My mother is old.
No one knows her.
I walk into town,
My scars guiding me.