r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: April 2016


Wielkum t'da Fokkmjoozieim

Hit's a pieriemootie kroft
growin pieriemootie aets
fir pieriemootie jows
an pieriemootie horsis.

Sies du da pierie Sjaetlin ky,
da pierie poorie, lyin kloorin,

an da pieriemootie hoos
fir da pieriemootie fokk
spaekin pieriemootie wirds
aboot pieriemootie maetirs

"Will we hae enjogh t'kiep da baerns?"
ir dan
"Tinks du sall we mak fir Kanada?"

Robert Alan Jamieson


Welcome to the Folk Museum

It's a tiny little small-holding
Growing tiny little crops
For tiny little sheep
And tiny little ponies.

Look, see the little Shetland cattle,
The little cat, lying scratching.

And the tiny little house
For the tiny little people
Talking tiny little words
About tiny little matters

"Will we have enough to feed the children?"
"Do you think we should start afresh in Canada?"

translation by Robert Alan Jamieson

Yesterday in Laggan

It was such a day
of sunshine wall to wall,
of heat haze and the year’s first frogs,
of blue hills stretching yonder.

It was such a day
of spring sun melting snow,
of fool’s gold blazing off warm rocks,
of joy to be alive.

It was such a day
of hinted rainbows and dissolving light,
of fragile silences
flooding towards infinity

that I wished to be nowhere else,
doing nothing else,
in company of no one else,
and I wanted it to be forever.

Gordon Jarvie, from A Man Passing Through: Memoir with Poems Selected and New

16 April 1746

“Oh! Drumossie, thy bleak moor shall, ere many generations have passed away, be stained with the best blood of the Highlands.
So, allegedly said the Brahan Seer, Coinneach Odhar (Kenneth Mackenzie), as he passed this place sometime in the first half of the 17th century.  - 2015 commemoration address at Culloden
Glad am I that I will not see the day, for it will be a fearful period; heads will be lopped off by the score, and no mercy shall be shown or quarter given on either side."


Seonaidh Walker

The story of a man following in his alcoholic father's footsteps.
(English translation)

He walks the streets at midday,
but it’s midnight in his mind.
He strays in his desert’s pathless way
no refuge there to find.

The water of life is stagnant,
a rusty coloured death,
there’s confusion in his limbs
there’s whisky in his breath.

Ask him what it feels like;
he describes it as a thirst,
and with the chance to call on Jesus
lets the devil answer first.

Woe is me, I am undone
to see the things I do
for he knows his scripture, knows his sin,
and he pleads the gospel’s true.

Johnny Walker’s in his grave
and he’s still causing hurt
when a poor soul meets a sorry end
and joins him in the dirt.

But the old man, he is funny
tells a joke or two,
you’ll laugh and give him what he wants
and the joke will be on you.

He used to go to town
for a drink out with his friends,
but now he likes the taste of gambling
with Johnny at weekends.

When Monday morning comes around
if he’s lucky he looks a state.
With liver cirrhosis, the anaemic diagnosis
of his hunger for a steak.

There’s a lonely grave by a barley field,
where as a child he used to play.
There his father lays, warning him
but he’s heading the same way.

At that sober stone where two ravens perch
a solemn inscription reads:
“Forsake the drink, flee from the world,
if you want to rest in peace.”


Canadian Boat Song

Listen to me, as when ye heard our father
Sing long ago, the song of other shores-
Listen to me, and then in chorus gather
All your deep voices, as ye pull your oars:

Fair these broad meads - these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

From the lone shieling of the misty island
Mountains divide us, and the waste of seas-
Yet still the blood is strong, the heart is Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides:

Fair these broad meads - these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

We ne'er shall tread the fancy-haunted valley,
Where 'tween the dark hills creeps the small clear stream,
In arms around the patriarch banner rally,
Nor see the moon on royal tombstones gleam:

Fair these broad meads - these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

When the bold kindred, in the time long-vanishd,
Conquer'd the soil and fortified the keep-
No seer foretold the children would be banish'd,
That a degenerate Lord might boast his sheep:

Fair these broad meads - these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

Come foreign rage - let Discord burst in slaughter!
O then for clansman true, and stern claymore-
The hearts that would have given their blood like water,
Beat heavily beyond the Atlantic roar:

Fair these broad meads - these hoary woods are grand;
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.

Scottish Anonymous


An Sneachda mun a' Chuilitheann / The Snow in the Cuillin

Tha fuachd mu do chridhe
Mar an sneachd mun a' Chuilitheann
Ach gu bheil e air tòiseachadh
Air leaghadh is leaghadh
A-nisd agus an Giblean againn,
Your heart is cold
like the snow in the Cuillin
except that it's started
bit by bit to melt
now that April's here

Agus tha dòchas agam
Gum fàs na clachan
A tha na bhun
'S a tha tuiteam beag air bheag
Far aodann sgaoilte nan creag
Nam beum
A sginneas air feadh na beinne
and I hope the rocks at the base
which are falling bit by bit
from the loosened rock face
become an explosion of stone
resounding through the mountain.

Rody Gorman, from Fax and other poems