r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: March 2015

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


Ràithean a’ carachadh

Air latha ‘Solas a’ Gheamhraidh’ -
air a chumadh,
is cuirt’ am frèam fiodha aotram,
le caraid,
nochd an t-earrach.

espresso mhilis a’ leaghadh air teangaidh ghlain;
cabadaich, gun strì, ris an fhear
bu leis an gailearaidh ùr soilleir;
gluasad le saorsa àlainn air a feadh;
coimhead timcheall, gu mion,
fad deagh ghreis.

Mus deach caibideil de chlasaig Albannaich a ghlamhadh,
air waffles, le pailteas dhuilleagan Asaim,
an cafaidh car beag Frangach,
gun cus cabhaig,
is, gu h-obann, mothachadh air athair teann (theirinn)
a’ putadh notaichean co-là-breith air nighinn, shomalta,
gan diùltadh.

‘Dè an uimhir?’ dh’ iarr a deugaire fhèin, na èisteachd-san,
agus, gu dearbha, chan ann air cunntas a’ bhìdh a bha a rùn.

Is, neo ’r thaing cuairt dhan bhaile, air a deagh bheannachadh,
le blàths anmoch is smaointean measail Bharraigh,
ged a bhiodh glainne fìon, gun dùil rithe, le companach gast’
air a’ chùis fhàgail foirfe,
ach ’s e la vie.

Air deireadh,
a bha am bus,
dinnte - sgàth thramaichean,
is bhrùth is phronn
is leum is chrom
air ais is air aghaidh
le greann

shuidh an dealbh, gu snog, dìonte,
air a chumail faisg, builg-chniadaichte,

Is leig osna an sàmhchaire
na sìneadh air a làthaireachd.

Martainn Mac an t-Saoir

Seasons: caught, bought and borrowed

The day of ‘Solas a’ Gheamhraidh’ -
printed and placed by a friend in a light-wood frame,
Spring appeared, kindly in -

sipping sweet espresso;
chatting easily with the owner
of the bright new gallery;
moving freely within;
looking around, closely,
for some time.

Afterwards, the tasteful intro to a lost Scottish classic got savoured,
on waffles and a pot of Assam leaves, in a Frenchish café,

then, an acute awareness of a stiff father (I’d say), pressing
birthday pounds on a relaxed, refusing, daughter.

‘How much?’ her teenager asked, in his hearing,
and she definitely didn’t mean the bill.

And the stroll up town was amply blessed
with late warmth and fresh Barra thoughts
and an impromptu glass of wine with a fine companion
might have spiced the cake,
ach ’s e la vie.

A delayed trammed-in bus was packed
squished and squashed,
jumped, jostled and jolted.

Though the picture sat first, protected,
held close, bubble-caressed,

Sighed silence soon settled on its being there.

Martin MacIntyre

'suddenly spring...'

suddenly spring -
my heart and the river,
full to bursting

Alan Spence

Port nan Carbad-iarainn

Ri taobh a chèile
’S iad an impis dèanamh às
Anns an dorchadas
Agus mi fhìn a’ sealltainn
Air an taobh thall
’S mi an dùil
Gur h-e mo sgàth fhèin
A gheibh mi air ais
Anns a’ ghlainne
’S clisgeadh orm ’s uamhann
’S gun agam de sgàth
Ach coigreach air mo bheulaibh.

Two Trains

Two carriages side by side
About to depart in the darkness:

There's me
Looking into the other,

Expecting to find
My own reflection,

To find not my own

But a stranger
Looking into my eyes.

Rody Gorman, from Scottish Poems, ed. John Rice


Bha sinn a’coimhead nan rionnag
mus do thionndaidh sinn a-steach leis na coin,
is thuirt thu gum bu mhithich dhut
na h-ainmean aca ionnsachadh gu ceart.

Ach chan fhada gus am bi thu fhèin nam measg
’s is mise a bhios a’feuchainn ri d’ainmeachadh,
thusa aig nach fhaca mi do nàdar
ach mar phriobadh fann an cuid solais –

Is tu riamh an ceann do dhleastanais,
mu chòcaireachd, caoraich, leabhraichean;
a bheil fios an d’fhuair thu do dhìol
airson do dheataim is spàirn is sgìths?

O gun lasainn de dh’aighear annad
na leigeadh leam d’fhaicinn gu slàn,
no chan fhaide thu bhuam nuair a shiùbhlas tu
nab ha thu rim thaobh a-nochd.


We looked at the stars for a while
Before we turned in with the dogs,
And you said it was high time
You learnt their names properly.

But soon you will be among them yourself
And I will be the one trying to name you;
You whose nature I have seen
Only as their faint points of light –

As you labour behind duty,
Behind house-work, farm-work, books,
And who knows if you have your reward
For your care and effort and exhaustion.

I wish I could kindle a joy in you
That would let me see you whole
Or you won’t be further when you go
Than you were tonight at my side.

Meg Bateman, from Soirbheas / Fair Wind

Mothering Sunday

The Adder of Quinag

The grey roots circle thee, who never knew
At any hour within thy travels lone
A human shape but mine. Thou com'st to view,
Wild, unafraid, what stands beside thy stone
And gazes on thee in thy wilderness
Of fifty miles. What thinkst thou of me,
For I am of a race thou could'st not guess
Would murder all thy hapless innocency?

O mountain, take thy small heart back again
And keep him in thy care when I shall go,
Unvisited by all things but the rain,
The hurtless sunbeams, and the winds that blow
For ever in his moors. O let him hold
No intricate memory of that being who stood
Just once by his wild beauty, and did fold
Him with a blessing alien to my blood.

Olive Fraser, from The Wrong Music 

Imagine a world


The Pylons

The secret of these hills was stone, and cottages
Of that stone made,
And crumbling roads
That turned on sudden hidden villages.

Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
That trails black wire;
Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.

The valley with its gilt and evening look
And the green chestnut
Of customary root,
Are mocked dry like the parched bed of a brook.

But far above and far as sight endures
Like whips of anger
With lightning's danger
There runs the quick perspective of the future.

This dwarfs our emerald country by its trek
So tall with prophecy:
Dreaming of cities
Where often clouds shall lean their swan-white neck.

Stephen Spender

things to come

But nothing will disturb the beauty of the Scottish Highlands...


I come on crooked-fingered trees,

on lichens and ferns upheld on decay,

each brittle branch in its green muff of moss.

Brown leaf-mould crumbles beneath me

down into gullies, where only the liverwort,

luminous and fleshy, holds on as I slither.

I startle at the sockets in a gleaming skull,

at a heron’s harsh cry, try not to let

bog suck and swallow me or root fell me

in the failing light. I clamber over, double

under, sprawling trunks. Brambles

snatch at my sleeves, my hair, in my hurry.

in the undergrowth deer crash. On their trail

I glimpse a hound bounding white, its ears

aglow. The chill air makes me dizzy,

twigs spiral overhead…

It’s a relief to see the car through the trees,

get the dog in the back, drop into the seat,

and with the radio and heating on,

drive back to concrete and glass,

hoping colleagues won’t notice.

Meg Bateman, from Transparencies