Wednesday, October 21, 2015

SILENT HAICHES

SILENT HAICHES

My grannie taught me to write
old school Gaelic League Irish
with dots over the muted consonants; 
they were marked with a sí buailte,
a diacritic hangover from Old Irish.
Sí buailte means strike—not to strike,
no infinitive verb in Irish. Drop the fada 
Seán becomes sean, which means old, she said.
She didn't like reformed Irish at all. 
Modern typography couldn't  handle those dots
so haiches were added after the consonant.
"There are no Haiches in Irish, she scoffed. 
"Haich is a ladder to the sky, 
Haich is silent, holy, haich is like God." 
So I learned the old style writing
with long-tailed rs and esses
I learned to dot my Ts and Cs to soften them.
Then we had some tea with milk and sugar
as we silently worked on our letters.

Oct, 24/2015


sí buailte (she bool-che)
síneadh fada (shinea fada)


My grannie learned to write Hibernian Gaelic (yes, that's what it was called) with the dots over consonants muted with a “sí buailte.” But one wrote in Irish. "There are no Haiches, she said. Haich is a ladder to the sky, Haich is silent, like God." She didn't like reformed Irish at all. So I learned this style. with the long r and long s. I learned to dot my Ts. Then we had some tea as we worked on our letters..

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