r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: July 2015

Ceithir Gaothan na h-Albann

M’oiteag cheòlmhor chaoin ’teachd deiseil nam bheitheach Samhraidh i,
mo stoirm chuain le dìle ’cur still ’s gach alltan domh,
a’ ghaoth tuath le cathadh sneachda nì dreachmhor beanntan domh,
a’ ghaoth tha ’g iomain m’fhalaisg Earraich ri leathad ghleanntaichean.

Duilleach an t-Samhraidh, tuil an Dàmhair, na cuithean ’s an àrdghaoth Earraich i;
dùrd na coille, bùirich eas, ùire ’n t-sneachda ’s an fhalaisg i;
tlàths is binneas, àrdan, misneach, fàs is sileadh nam frasan i;
anail mo chuirp, àrach mo thuigse, mo làmhan, m’uilt is m’anam i.
Fad na bliadhna, rè gach ràithe, gach là ’s gach ciaradh feasgair dhomh,
is i Alba nan Gall ’s nan Gàidheal is gaire, is blàths, is beatha dhomh.

Deòrsa Caimbeul Hay, from Fuaran Sléibh: rainn Ghaidhlig

The Four Winds of Scotland

My melodious, gentle breeze blowing from southward in my Summer
birchwood is she;
my ocean storm, with downpour sending in headlong spate each
burn for me;
the north wind with driving snow that makes beautiful the hills for me;
the wind that drives my Springtime muirburn up the slopes of glens
is she.

The leaves of Summer, the spate of Autumn, the snowdrifts and the
high Spring wind is she;
the sough of the woodland, the roaring of waterfalls, the freshness of
the snow and the heather ablaze is she;
mild pleasantness and melody, angry pride and courage, growth and
the pouring of the showers is she;
breath of my body, nurture of my understanding, my hands, my joints
and my soul is she.
All year long, each season through, each day and each fall of dusk
for me,
it is Scotland, Highland and Lowland, that is laughter and warmth and
life for me.

George Campbell Hay


Rona is an island off the mainland of Scotland and the Isle of Skye. The Island has had a long history of occupation and the remains of its inhabitants can still be found in this remote place. The project documents and maps the Island through the traces of disappearance that can be found there. Despite its remoteness the Island is also threatened by the effects of overfishing and climate change (drought and flooding). The project attempts to reflect the Island as a microcosm of our own possible future, in which large groups are forced to abandon their homes or homeland as it becomes uninhabitable through social or environmental changes. - Marc Atkinson

She, By The Sea

(A song for Norma Winstone)

in the morning
by the sea
she skips along the sand
by the out-tide
far calm blue
her mind stretches
across the wet rib miles
making pictures
of how it can be

by afternoon
she’s shuffling along the sand
beside the in-tide
kicking mounds
spraying grains
making movements
of how it is
and longs for it to be

dusk to dark
she follows the retreating sea
on extending sand again

a straight-line walker
on rippling white beam
under a rising western moon
causing causes felt and unseen

she hears a call out and under yonder
and swims herself there
to find assistance in the sea

Alistair Paterson

Clan Donald's Call to Battle At Harlaw

after the Gaelic of Lachlann Mor MacMhuirich (fl. 1411)

You Clann of Conn, remember this:
Strength from the eye of the storm.
Be at them, be animals,
Be alphas, be Argus-eyed,
Be belters, be brandishers
Be bonny, be batterers,
Be cool heads, be caterans,
Be clashers, be conquerors,
Be doers, be dangerous,
Be dashing, be diligent,
Be eager, be excellent,
Be eagles, be elegant,
Be foxy, be ferrety,
Be fervid, be furious,
Be grimmer, be gralloching,
Be grinders, be gallopers,
Be hardmen, be hurriers,
Be hell-bent, be harriers,
Be itching, be irritants,
Be impish, be infinite,
Be lucky, be limitless
Be lashers, be loftiest,
Be manly, be murderous,
Be martial, be militant,
Be noxious, be noisiest,
Be knightly, be niftiest,
Be on guard, be orderly,
Be off now, be obdurate,
Be prancing, be panic-free,
Be princely, be passionate,
Be rampant, be renderers,
Be regal, be roaring boys,
Be surefire, be Somerleds,
Be surgers, be sunderers,
Be towering, be tactical,
Be tip-top, be targetters,
Be urgent, be up for it,
In vying be vigorous
In ending all enemies.
Today is for triumphing,
You hardy great hunting-dogs,
You big-boned braw battle boys,
You lightfoot spry lionhearts,
You wall of wild warriors,
You veterans of victories,
You heroes in your hundreds here,
You Clan of Conn, remember this:
Strength from the eye of the storm.

Robert Crawford, from Full Volume

Dandelion Seeds

From somewhere -
from the Pennines, from Skye,
will arrive the puff of air
to make us fly.

In each barbed seed
(as in a nib of gold)
though they call us weed
is light untold -

to scatter like suns
in the Cosmos's breath,
and billow long tons
of blooms from death.

Gerry Cambridge


Children of the Smoke
Shore to Shore
Bella Caledonia

The Spiral

The seasons of this year are in my luggage.
Now, lifting the last picture from the wall,
I close the eyes of the room. Each footfall
clatters on the bareness of the stair.
The family ghosts fade in the hanging air.
Mirrors reflect the silence. There is no message.
I wait in the still hall for a car to come.
Behind, the house will dwindle to a name.

Places, addresses, faces left behind.
The present is a devious wind
obliterating days and promises.
Tomorrow is a tinker's guess.
Marooned in cities, dreaming of greenness,
or dazed by journeys, dreading to arrive -
change, change is where I live.

For possibility,
I choose to leave behind
each language, each country.
Will this place be an end,
or will there be one other,
truer, rarer?

Often now, in dream,
abandoned landscapes come,
figuring a constant theme:
Have you left us behind?
What have you still to find?

Across the spiral distance,
through time and turbulence,
the rooted self in me
maps out its true country.

And, as my father found
his own small weathered island,
so will I come to ground

where that small man, my son,
can put his years on.

For him, too, time will turn.

Alastair Reid

small expectations

Gaelic was sown into us like grains
of oats, turnip-seed, split potatoes
plough folded below earth each spring
it took root among the small talk
villagers stacked at the peat banks
or found gleaming in green
fields …
… yet now croft land lies fallow
Winds keen through rush and nettle,
Cold showers of thistledown blow
where potatoes stalked and blossomed
and words of English broadcast on the air
find strange new seed-beds on our lips.

Donald S Murray

An Ceathramh Garbh

It is all rough with wood, mountains, and tractless paths, and incapable of being tilled or bearing crops, except in a very few places.
- Sir Alexander Gordon, Kinlochbervie

Fàilte do Thìr nam Beann

Fàilte do Thìr nam Beann;
Fàilte do gach frìth is gleann;
Fàilt' agus fàilt' nach gann;
Fàilte do Thìr nam Beann.

Fàilte bhlàth don fhraoch 's don chluaran,
'S do gach alltan beag is fuaran,
Blàraibh chanach 's achaidh luachrach
'S creagan gruamach Tìr nam Beann...

Iain Camshron (Bàrd Inbhir Àsdal), from A' Ghàidhlig air aghaidh na tìre

Welcome to the Land of the Mountains

Welcome to the land of the mountains;
welcome to every deer forest and glen;
welcome and a great welcome,
welcome to the land of the mountains.

A warm welcome to the heather and the thistle,
and to every little stream and spring,
meadows of bog cotton and fields of rushes
and the forbidding rocks of the land of the mountains...

Iain Cameron (Bard of Inverasdale), from Gaelic in the Landscape

The Beginning of a New Song

Let our three-voiced country
sing in a new world
joining the other rivers without dogma,
but with friendliness to all around her.

Let her new river shine on a day
that is fresh and glittering and contemporary;

Let it be true to itself and to its origins
inventive, original, philosophical,
its institutions mirror its beauty;

then without shame we can esteem ourselves

Iain Crichton Smith, recited on the occasion of the opening of the Scottish Parliament, 1 July 1999