r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: January 2018

For Refuge

Use no names. Roads
have been whited out,
redacted. Hone your oldest sense.
Learn the wind,
memorise where it goes
bearing your odours. The truck-stops
are roofless churches.
Comma-birds on power lines
swollen by rain
fall away.
Comfort yourself,
there will be stars in the dark
travelling towards you,
smaller and smaller.

Trust the earth
with your bandaged feet,
the pockets sewn shut by your mother.
Carry only such things
as snowflakes, eyelashes,
for the future may not make you out

Pippa Little, from Aiblins: New Scottish Political Poetry (ed by Katie Ailes & Sarah Paterson)

chan eil mi nad aghaidh

chan eil mi nad aghaidh    a thaistealair ghil
tha thu ruith tro mo chuislean    mar aran mo bhith
chan eil mise an aghaidh    do mheuran a’ slìobadh nan clach
do theanga mar theine    a’ tionndadh nam fòd
chan eil mi an aghaidh    do shùil a bhith suaineadh
nan teagamh    trom chlaigeann, trom
                                                            chliabh, trom chruth
’s ged a shìneadh tu    gu dà cheann na sìorraidheachd
abairteachd rag d’ iarrtais    airson ciall, ciall, ciall
’s ged nach freagair mi    le cinnt thu,
                                                           fàilte, fàilte, fàilt’ ort

an t-adhbhar a th’ aig deigh    airson seudachd a chrochadh
air gach craobh    is an liathachd gus laighe    air m’ aois
is an t-adhbhar dhan a’ chuan    a bhith ’g at is a’ seacadh    is
an t-achbhar dhomh    a bhith    mar eathar bheag    a’ bocail
eadar    north utsire ’s south utsire    flinne bog    a’ tionndadh
chun nam bleideagan cruaidhe    ’s mi an dòchas nach tig
an reothadh cuain    nas fhaisge    gus nach faicear na
mathain bhàn    air bhàrr an raoin reòthta ’s an acras
na bheuc deudach    no fodham    na cearbain
                    mar fheannagan fairge    gam fheitheamh

ann an tionndadh na  grèìne    chì mi ann a shin thu
chì mi thu    taobh thall an sgàthain
                                        ’s cha toir thu cobhair dhomh
is chì mi ann a shin thu    mar gum b’ ann a’ feitheamh,
a mhathain ghil, a chearbain              nad shàmhchair

Aonghas MacNeacail, from dèanamh gàire ris a’ chloc: dàin ùra agus thaghte

i'm not against you

i’m not against you     white traveller
you flow through my veins     like the bread of my life
i am not against     your fingers stroking the stones
your tongue like fire     turning the peat turfs
i am not against     your eye entwining
uncertainties     through my head, through my
                                                                                   ribs, my form
and though you’d stretch     to the two ends of eternity
the stubborn assertion of your demands     for sense, sense, sense
and though i won’t answer you     with confidence,
                                                                welcome, welcome, welcome

the reason ice     suspends jewellery
on every tree     while hoar sets to lie     on my age
and the reason oceans     swell and shrink     and
the reason i am     like a small skiff     bucking
between     north utsire and south utsire     soft sleet     turning
into hard flakes     while i hope there’ll be no
freezing ocean     any closer     good not to see the
white bears     ranging the frozen expanses, their hunger
a fanged roar    or beneath me     the sharks
                            like ocean crows     awaiting

in the turning of the sun     i see you there
i see you     beyond the mirror
                                               and you don’t come to help me
and i see you there     as if waiting
for the white bear, the shark     in your silence

Aonghas MacNeacail, from laughing at the clock : new and selected poems

“Expatriate. / Exile. / Migrant. / Refugee.”

''Migrant isn't a word I grew up with. Migrant seems more 'dehumanising' as if these people are naturally on the move like herds of buffalo. It takes away the idea that a person has a home or an aspiration to make a home.''   

"‘I write because I must,’ says Vahni Capildeo, winner of the 2016 Forward Prize for Best Collection for Measures of Expatriation (published by Carcanet). ‘I think poetry,’ she says, ‘is a natural expression of humanity that has not been brutalized – which is able to take time and concentrate.’"
In this Scottish Poetry Library podcast, "Capildeo discusses the impact studying Old Norse at university had on her poetry, how women's voices are silenced, and why she objects to the word 'migrant'."




I lie awake
listening to the wind.
There are metaphors and
metaphors but none
to put up this longing
for my new love.
The house creaks slightly.
There is no ghost here
only the absence
of my old love.

Hamish Whyte, from The Art of Love

One Year the Door Will Open

Door, I have knocked, pushed,
licked and, for a year, stroked
your veins smooth as varnish.
My knuckles are hard, black beetles.
      We were children first
      when I saw your blue sway
      into a cottage on the coast.
      Each day the repetitive sea
      sneaking close.
Door, you have been painted many things:
argument red, family yellow, divorce brown.
I too have been locked and pushed
shut, hung on frames and forced to gaze
through creaking day and slamming night
at the parked silver car and children
high on birch. Door, I too have stared
     at my own brass, have become wood
     and squeaked with need. Weathered, pale,
     but still here. So we can peer through gloam
     and into each other, honest as hinge
     and nail, can open and call this home.

Ryan Van Winkle, from The Good Dark

Auld Lang Syne / Air Sgàth Nan Iomadh Linn

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought tae mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.


And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne

Words adapated from a traditional song by Robert Burns

Air Sgàth Nan Iomadh Linn

An còir an càirdeas dhol air dìth,
‘S a leigeil as ar cuimn’?
An còir an càirdeas dhol air dìth
Air sgàth nan iomadh linn.

Air sgàth nan iomadh linn, a ghaoil,
Air sgàth nan linn a dh’fhalbh,
Gun gabh sinn cupan coibhneas blàsd’
Air sgàth nan linn a dh’fhalbh.

Is agad-sa biodh cupan làn
Is agam-sa, mi-fhìn,
Is òlar cuach an aoibhneas ait
Air sgàth nan iomadh linn.


Nach tric a ruith sinn air na cnuic,
A’bhuain nan neòinean grinn,
Ach ‘s iomadh ceum a rinn sinn streap,
Bho àm nan iomadh linn.


Seo dhut mo làmh, mo charaid fìor,
‘S do làmh-sa thoir dhomh-fhìn,
Is òlaidh sinn gu ghrunnd a’ chup’
Air sgàth nan iomadh linn.

Bliadhna mhath ùr! A h-uile là sona dhuibh 's gun là idir dona dhuib.