Skye time


Written at the fall of Fyers

Among the heathy hills and ragged woods
The roaring Fyers pours his mossy floods,
Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds
Where thro' a shapeless breach, his stream resound
As high in air the bursting torrents flow,
As deep-recoiling surges foam below:
Prone down the rock the whitening sheet descends
And viewless Echo's ear affrighted rends:
Dim-seen thro' rising mists and ceaseless showe
The hoary cavern wide-surrounding towers:
Still urging through the gap the river toils
And still the horrid deep, dark-raging boils.


Robert Burnstranscription from the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Burns Night
the Inverness connection
A Birl for Burns

Gaet-markers

for Gabriel Lalonde, artist, Québec

At da stert, dey wir a makkin o wirds.
Some o da aerliest wis shurley 'haem'
an wirds for seekin hit whan lost; for
whan horizons mizzle awa, an aathin is
shadit greys. For whan we can scrime
nedder sun trowe ask nor starn trowe
clood. Or, at sea, whan hoops draps
laek a dorro an da haand apön da tiller
trivvels for meanin, an we glinder
for safe haven, relief o kent banks.

Some o da best wirds is for finnin
da gaet: meids to line up Ithaca or
Isbister, hit's aa da sam; rönnies
apön a steekit kame – laek inuksuit,
gaet-markers o da icy wastes;
blinkies for lichtin trenkies i da mirk;
Polaris, preened tae da heevens,
pin-pointin wis; buoys ta shaa a channel
free o baas; an Möder Dyinhad,
a readin o undertow ta bring wis haem.


Christine De Luca, from North End of Eden: Poems in English and Shetlandic 

haem - home
mizzle - disappear 
scrime - observe with difficulty 
ask - mist, haze  
dorro - weighted handline 
trivvels - gropes
glinder - peers  
kent - familiar 
banks - cliffs
gaet - path 
meids - landmarks to line up when at sea to establish position 
rönnies - prominent rocks or cairns on a hill 
steekit - dense fog 
kame - ridge of hills
inuksuit - Inuit signposts on a trail, site-markers 
blinkies - torches
trenkies - narrow paths
mirk - dark 
preened - pinned 
shaa - show 
baas - submerged rocks
Möder dy - Mother wave 
inhad - a bare sufficiency  

Taboo

You want to look on the lea-side
in winter, the swamp thickening
like the uterine wall,
popping its puffballs
and creaming its butterwort,
folding in the sundew and squill,
putting out the eyebrights.

You ask what they do
for accommodation –
try high pools
in the red hills
of winter,
hind-paws slapping up flares
of red rain –
look for their niche
of collapsing peat.

Pilgrims of such
an ascetic order
don’t even own
the spectral colours
of snow.

No, that’s the white flag
at Amen Corner.

That’s your heart going
nineteen-
to-the-dozen.

That’s just the cold water
stilling itself
in the form
of your throat.


Jen Hadfield, published in Edinburgh Review, 133

Canna - can

It seems some Calvinist has been there
naming the island:
Canna
but all the island calls out
in its green and shining light

I can
            I can
            I can


Angus Dunn, from High Country