Tuesday, 08 February 2022 13:13

The Thankful Poor

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in Poetry
The Thankful Poor

Gabriel Rosenstock presents a bilingual tanka, in Irish and English (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) in response to an artwork (above) by Henry Ossawa Tanner, the first African-American artist to achieve international renown. The Thankful Poor is the ironic title of Tanner's painting from 1894. 

The Thankful Poor

by Gabriel Rosenstock 

they are everywhere
their heads bowed, the thankful poor
it weighs heavily
their silence . . . their gratitude
for what - for being alive?

tá siad gach aon áit
na bochtáin, a gceann cromtha
is trom é a dtost
cén fáth tost, cén fáth buíochas
an buíoch atáid as bheith beo?

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Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock was born in postcolonial Ireland and is a poet, haikuist, tankaist, translator, playwright, novelist, short story writer and essayist.