Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock

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

Politics in Northern Ireland
Saturday, 14 May 2022 14:52

Politics in Northern Ireland

Published in Poetry

Politics in Northern Ireland

a bilingual limerick by Limerick bilinguist Gabriel Rosenstock

We'd bring back the border tomorrow
It may cause discomfort and sorrow
It's simple, you see,
Says the DUP
We must prevent Sodom (and Gomorrah!)


Tugtar ar ais dúinn ár dteorainn
Is bíodh líne eadrainn i gcónaí
Arsa an DUP
(Ní i nGaelainn Chiarraí):
Bíodh an diabhal buí ag Sodam is Gomóra!

Standing Rock
Tuesday, 19 April 2022 15:17

Standing Rock

Published in Visual Arts

The Native American reservation stands as a searing metaphor for the evils of colonialism and capitalism with its dreadful legacy of forced religious conversion, language loss, cultural and environmental degradation, rampant alcoholism and a host of other social ills.

How is it that when we engineered the genocide of First Nation peoples . . . how is it that we didn't anticipate the current global crisis? How is it that we didn't have an inkling of the traditional wisdom of the 'barbarians' we were destroying, as we corralled the survivors in reservations . . . a wisdom that would have helped us to cherish the planet and avoid catastrophe?

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.            - Chief Seattle, Duwamish

And yet, even today, Standing Rock reservation, with the nearby pipeline, became a symbol of what the Rev. Jesse Jackson has called 'environmental racism'. In hindsight we now see the eternal wisdom of Sun Bear and all the other great philosophers and sages of the Americas:

I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.
- Sun Bear, Chippewa

No Hunting is a bilingual photo-tanka sequence in Irish and English (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) by Gabriel Rosenstock in response to photographs taken in Native American reservations by Rhett Arens. It is downloadable here:

Dancing for Ukraine
Thursday, 07 April 2022 14:39

Dancing for Ukraine

Published in Poetry

Dancing for Ukraine is a bilingual tanka by Gabriel Rosenstock in response to Three Ukrainian Dancers (1895) previously known as Les Trois Danseuses Russes by Edgar Degas. Many art galleries are now becoming conscious of having mislabelled works of art on display and in storage, having used the broad term 'Russian' when geographical, cultural-linguistic or, indeed, national reasons should have compelled them to look again.

when will you dance, girls
when will your hearts overflow
with hope and desire
      when will men return from war
      bodies numb and minds frozen

a ghirseacha liom
cathain a dhamhsóidh sibh
le dóchas is brí
     cathain a fhillfidh na fir
     ón ár, a n-anam reoite

Time to Bury Heroes: the horrors of war
Sunday, 13 February 2022 13:55

Time to Bury Heroes: the horrors of war

Published in Poetry

Time to Bury Heroes is a bilingual tanka in Irish and English (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) by Gabriel Rosenstock in response to a painting by Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin (October 26, 1842 – April 13, 1904). Vereschagin made no bones about the horrors of war.

it has come again
the time to bury heroes
they'll enrich the earth
yellow wheat will grow stronger
and feed our young warriors

sé an t-am sin é
am adhlactha na laochra
saibhreoidh siad an chré
neartóidh siad an chruithneacht
chun an macra a chothú

The Thankful Poor
Tuesday, 08 February 2022 13:13

The Thankful Poor

Published in Poetry

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?

Friday, 28 January 2022 10:19


Published in Poetry

Gabriel Rosenstock presents a bilingual haiku in Irish and English in response to a photograph by Maxime Crozet


ravaged, empty
like the face of Tony Blair . . .
a street in Iraq

folamh, scriosta
ar nós aghaidh Tony Blair . . .
sráid san Iaráic

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