Cuil-lodair, is Briseadh na h-Eaglaise,
is briseadh nan tacannan –
lamhachas-làidir dà thrian de ar comas;
‘se seòltachd tha dhìth oirinn.
Nuair a theirgeas a’ chruaidh air faobhar na speala
caith bhuat a’ chlach-liomhaidh;
chan eil agad ach iarann bog
mur eil de chruas nad innleachd na ni sgathadh.

Is caith bhuat briathran mìne
oir chan fhada bhios briathran agad;
tha Tuatha Dè Danann fon talamh,
tha Tìr nan Og anns an Fhraing,
‘s nuair a ruigeas tu Tìr a’ Gheallaidh,
mura bi thu air t’ aire,
coinnichidh Sasannach riut is plion air,
a dh’ innse dhut gun tug Dia, bràthair athar, còir dha anns an fhearann.

Ruaraidh MacThòmais, from Creachadh na Clàrsaich: Cruinneachadh de Bhardachd 1940-1980


Culloden, the Disruption,
and the breaking up of the tack-farms –
two thirds of our power is violence;
it is cunning we need.
When the tempered steel near the edge of the scythe-blade is worn
throw away the whetstone;
you have nothing left but soft iron
unless your intellect has a steel edge that will cut clean.

And throw away soft words,
for soon you will have no words left;
the Tuatha Dè Danann* are underground,
the Land of the Ever-young is in France,
and when you reach the Promised Land,
unless you are on your toes,
a bland Englishman will meet you,
and say to you that God, his uncle, has given him a title to the land.

* Tuatha Dè Danann, a supernatural race in Ireland, sometimes said to
be the progenitors of the fairies.

Derick Thomson, from Plundering the Harp: Collected Poems 1940-1980


Night-arrival, the suspension bridge lifting
its aircraft lights, then the road veers
to narrow streets precipitous by contrast.

Arrive in a night-rain, the heady air,
then lit-up with drink gaze down
that choke of water to high lights again.

A disco off the main street, pulsing with colour;
and yards away down river steps
a fisherman cast a fly to catch a salmon’s eye.

A bridle of bridges, shower-cap of stores;
a hotch-potch of history. Its account current
in Highland and Devolution politics.

The city packed into luminous acres;
a hand-span in the river’s mouth; the castle
a Court-house kept by Flora MacDonald, and crows.

The sea-laid land lays mapped eastwards, anchored;
its rich earth wealthy with farms, and spilled blood.

Michael Murray

Siuthad a Sheònaid

To the little girls from next door, life in Seonaid's household never seems dull as they join in the fun playing with her seven sons. In reality, having nine children to cope with, along with the constant demands of a husband who seems to appreciate his pipe more than her, all get too much for poor Seònaid!

From a landscape in April

Snowflake grinds against snowflake.
Grass creaks like old furniture.

I spread silence on the fields.

I bring home thick squares of it
to hang on my noisy walls.

Robin Fulton Macpherson, from The Thing that Mattered Most: Scottish poems for children ed. by Julie Johnstone

Whisky Galore

Comar - music, visual arts, and theatre on the Isle of Mull


Eadar Port Eilein agus ceann an rathaid
sìos dhan Oa
tha Eirinn cho teann ort
’ s a tha thusa orm fhìn
ann an dorchadas a’chàir
a’ tighinn air fàire
ann an solas buaile na gealaich
ann am priobadh gaoil is briseadh dùil

Iain S. Mac a’ Phearsain


between Port Ellen and the road end
down to the Oa
Ireland’s as intimate to you
as you are to me
in the darkness of the car
appearing on the horizon
in the light of the moon’s aureola
in a blink of desire and disappointment

Iain S. Macpherson