Grá Fómhair – Autumnal Love

What better way to celebrate the glorious reds, oranges, and yellows of November—the brisk air, the hot tea, the annual newfound surprise of mittens, scarves, and caps—than with a love story? Our 2013 print issue of Long River Review included a Foreign Literatures section. We purposefully published these pieces—two in Irish and one in Spanish—in their native languages with no accompanying translation in order to assert our belief that our increasingly polycultural world requires a knowledge of various languages. We wanted our readers to struggle a little bit. We wanted readers to try to understand the beauty of the written words in the original languages, even if they could not understand the literal meaning, to try to translate the pieces on their own, and to realize that all translations are separate works of art that serve as approximations of the originals.

However, for those readers who nevertheless love literal meaning (myself included), we are providing the English translation of Lisa Nic An Bhreithimh’s piece, “Grá Fómhair.” The original can be found in the 2013 print issue of Long River Review and copies are still available for sale at a small price at the UConn Co-Op.

Lisa Nic An Bhreithimh
Lisa Nic An Bhreithimh

First, a bit about Lisa:

Lisa Nic An Bhreithimh was a Fulbright Irish language T.A. at the University of Connecticut during the 2012-2013 academic year. Her three loves in life are people, writing and An Ghaeilge (the Irish language).

Without further ado…take it away, Lisa!


“Autumnal Love”

West Kerry, Ireland, August 1910.

She would never forget the day she’d seen him for the first time.

Autumn had arrived and the leaves were rusty and crisp. No artist could create a more beautiful masterpiece than this one laid out before her. There was a light breeze still in the air from summer and there were blackberries still on the branches. She walked slowly into the park through the rusty iron gates, breathing in the air of the autumn and letting it fill her lungs. There was a new taste in the air that she hadn’t tasted in a long time—the taste of autumn and the scent of summer carefully entwined, full of fallen leaves and the heat of the summer’s end. She closed her eyes in the quiet and the gentle lapping of the river reached her ears like a quiet melody, the small waves hitting against the pebbles on its bed. Everything was calm and quiet.

It was as though she could feel his presence there before she met him. As though they were somehow connected, as though they were linked before they’d ever known each other. She had always felt at ease in this country park but on this great day she felt more comfortable than ever. As comfortable as she possibly could. She could feel the heat of the air in every part of her body and her mind and her bones were calm. She knew that there was something different about this day, something that would separate it from the rest. Just then she saw two swans out on the river close by, the color of snow on their feathers. She saw him then, standing on the grass of the riverbed. She looked at his eyes in the brightness of the water.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” she replied quietly.

With that, the two swans broke from the water and flew away together into the sky.

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