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This poem is taken from PN Review 118, Volume 24 Number 2, November - December 1997.

After 'The Cave of Gold' Iain Crichton-Smith

The following is based on but not directly translated from a Gaelic poem called The Cave of Gold.

He went into the cave
as into a grave
playing his pipes.

And the green bitch savaged them.

She snapped furiously at the bag
with her sharp teeth, and the music flagged
into the grey prevailing fog.

O the green bitch savaged them.

I shall not return,
shall not return,

though the rash boy should become old bone

though the gauche girl should become old crone

though the moss be in the bagpipes' drone.

I'll not return.

From the green hill the green bitch came.
O was it Nature was its name
...


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