Beacons at Bealtaine: by Seamus Heaney for a New Europe
This is the full text of the Seamus Heaney poem quoted by Nicola Sturgeon at her address to the Seanad Éireann,
Uisce: Water. And fionn: the Water’s Clear.
But dip and find this Gaelic water Greek:
A phoenix flames upon fionn uisce here.
Strangers were barbaroi to the Greek ear.
Now let the heirs of all who could not speak.
The language, whose ba-babbling was unclear,
Come with their gift of tongues past each frontier
And find the answering voices that they seek.
As fionn and uisce answer phoenix here.
The May Day hills were burning, far and near,
When our land’s first footers beached boats in the creek.
In uisce, fionn, strange words that soon grew clear;
So on a day when newcomers appear.
Let it be a homecoming and let us speak.
The unstrange word, as it behoves us here,
Move lips, move minds and make new meanings flare.
Like ancient beacons signalling, peak to peak,
From middle sea to north sea, shining clear.
As phoenix flame upon fionn uisce here.
(Phoenix Park, May Day, 2004)