r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: March 2016

An Clamhan

Muile nam monaidheam farsaing
agus nam bailtean gun daoine;
an clamhan air chaithris ‘na rìoghachd
ag èisdeachd ri beul-aithris na gaoithe.

Maoilios Caimbeul, from Writing the Wind: A Celtic Resurgence, (ed by Thomas Rain Crowe)
The Buzzard
Mull of the spacious moors
and the deserted towns;
the buzzard wakes.
Listening to the oral tradition of the wind.
trans by Myles Campbell


Is this place really nearer to God?
Is the wall thin between our whispers
And his listening? I only know
The world grows less and less -
Here what matters is conquering the wind,
Coming home dryshod, getting the fire lit.
I am not sure whether there is no time here
Or more time, whether the light is stronger
Or just easier to see. That is why
I keep returning, thirsty, to this place
That is older than my understanding,
Younger than my broken spirit.

Kenneth Steven, from Iona


Staffa is an organ
Thrown overboard by giants long ago.

Jura is a beast with its head down, sleeping,
Its back volcanic, its winds eroded.

Tiree is a gust of fields and houses
Low in the water on the world's rim.

Lewis is a congregation of huddled sermons
Battened-down hatches in a mist of whisky.

Eigg is one milk tooth biting the sky
Searching thirstily among sagging clouds.

Kenneth Steven, from Iona

Beannacht / Blessing

For Josie, my mother

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, from Echoes of Memory

in memory of my Bandon lad on this St Patrick's Day

The Finished House


Chaidh do ghlainead a chur nam chuimhne
Nuair a sheall mi mach air an uinneig reòtha sa mhadainn
’ S an aon lèine gheal a th’ agam a’ tiormachadh ann an shin
Na sneachda air feadh Aird Shlèite.

Rody Gorman, from A Celtic Resurgence: The New Celtic Poetry (Writing the Wind)  (ed. by Thomas Rain Crowe et al.)


I was reminded of you
When I looked out the frozen window this morning
With my one white shirt drying out there on the line
Like snow covering the Aird of Sleat.

trans. by Rody Gorman