Poet

Bàrd

A’ sgrìobhadh na bàrdachd…

Writing the poems…

There are three dozen poems in Sandy’s first collection, ‘Crotal Ruadh – Red Lichen’, eight of them also songs. They vary greatly in subject matter, mood, style and use of various formal rhyme schemes, or free verse.  Sandy has recently completed her second collection, ‘An Seachdamh Tonn – The Seventh Wave’, comprising fifty new poems and a dozen new songs.  Here are a few examples of her writing: ‘Na Fir-Chlis’ – ‘The Northern Lights’; ‘Cailleach-Oidhche Fhroboist’ – ‘Frobost Owl’; ‘An Nighean à Chopacabana‘ – ‘The Girl from Copacobana’; ‘Cumha a’ Chrùin Chiomaich‘ – ‘Lament of the Captive Crown’; ‘Luimnichean Meek‘ – ‘Donald’s Limericks’; ‘Cadal Dòchasach‘ – ‘Hopeful Sleep’; and ‘Cruit-Cuimhneachaidh’ – ‘Harp of Commemoration’.  You may also view videos of ‘Fàth’ – ‘Vision’, which was commissioned by the Scottish Poetry Library in July 2020; and of ‘Thig Charon a’ Shuirighe‘ – ‘Charon Comes a’ Courting’, commissioned by the Gaelic Books Council in May 2020.

Roghainn Bàrdachd Poetry Samples

Luimnichean-Meek

A Dhòmhnaill chòir, cùmaibh ur cuimse
mhìn-aoireil, macanta-puinnseant’
air cealg luchd-cumhachd
gun nàire gun truas,
leis ur Luim-meekan – guth ar muinntir!

Donald’s Limericks

Have you noticed, in recent strange weeks,
there’s a new bardic form – Limer-Meeks:
their satire impeaches
politicians’ breaches,
and sends the ferret of truth down their breeks.

Cadal Dòchasach

Làighe na grèin’,
ròs na h-oidhche,
ciaradh an là:
rionnag nan speur,
gealach as boidhche,
is camhanach nas fheàrr.

Hopeful Sleep

Sun’s setting,
evening’s blush,
the daylight fades:
stars of the heavens,
moon’s silver flush
and a better dawn awaits.

Cruit-Cuimhneachaidh

Air Là na Buaidhe Eòrpaich, 8 Ceitean 2020

Cha bràigh a’ chruit!
Bheir i gaol is ceòl dhuit,
’s ged glaist’ i a-staigh
seo dhuit beannachd bhon taigh      
le co-bhàidh: is seòlaidh
ar fuinn is ar ceòlraidh
le fiughar do chèile.
Is comharraicht’ là-fèille 
do’n linn romhainn, le cuimhe
is ar meas orr’ as doimhne;
’s don a huile neach-fulaing
sna làithean seo cruaidh.

Harp of Commemoration

On VE day, 8 May 2020

The harp is not captive!
She sends love and music
and though locked indoors,
here’s her blessing from home
with sympathy: our muses
and melodies will fly
over distance between us
to bring hope and regard.
Remember, this holiday,
those gone before, with
our deepest respect;
and those suffering now
in today’s severe times.  

Na Fir-Chlis

Bha mise sa Chnoc-Sìth’ o chunnaic mi thu ’n dè
’S tha aithris neo-àbhaist’ ri cur ann an sgeul
Mu na h-ainglean mallaichte, mur b’ e gràs Dhè;
Na Fir-Chlis, na loisgich, a theab tuiteam on speur.

Chaidh teine ’s an àil’ a’ lasadh gu geur
Le dealanach, sradagan, losgadh is leus.
Dhòrt na Fir-Chlis fuil theth às gach fèith,
’S nochd am manadh air olc: crotal-ruadh air na slèibh.

Chìthear mar mhallachd aig èirigh na grèin’
Fuil nan sàr-mhilidh, is fianais an creuchd:
Ach bheir blàr nan clis-threun ùr-fhadadh is dèin’
Do bhàrdachd nam filidh air sgrìobhadh fo’ n seun.

Ach is mairg do dhream le dà-shealladh mar gheas
Oir cluinnear gu sìorraidh mac-talla is èigh
Nam Fir-Chlis, leth-uilc, a’ milleadh ’s an cleas
’S cha tig a chaoidh iochd orr’, le cuireadh bho’ n eug.

‘The Nimble Ones’

I have been at the fairy-knoll since we met yesterday
And of that I have a strange tale to relate
Of the angels who, had God not had mercy, were damned;
The Nimble Ones, fiery ones, who almost fell from the skies.

There was fire in the air, blazing fiercely,
Lightning bolts, sparks, flaming and flickering.
The Nimble Ones spilled hot blood from every vein,
And their presage of evil appeared; crimson lichen on the hillsides.

At sunrise you may witness this, like a curse,
The blood of the arch-warriors, proof of their wounds:
But the battle of the nimble fighters rekindles and intensifies 
The bards’ poetry, composed under their spell.

Yet woe betide those born with the sorcery of second-sight,
For they will for ever hear the echoes and cries
Of the Nimble Ones, the half-evil ones, playfully despoiling,
Who will never receive clemency, in the form of death’s call.

Cailleach-oidhche Fhroboist

Chaidh mi a-mach air oidhche chiùin bhòidhich Uibhist
a’ sireadh deò agus sealladh
air gealach an abachaidh àlainn.
Gairm gheur
creutair a’ leum bhon t-similear
is a’ dìreadh san adhar dhubh,
sgiathan spracail a’ bualadh an dorchadais.
Cailleach-oidhche air feagal fhaighinn
far an do shir i tearmainn.
eun mòrail gam theicheadh
air sgiathan farsaing,
sgiathan draoidheil airgid le boillsgeadh na gealaich orra
faileas flathail a’ seòladh as fhianais thar achaidhean Fhroboist.
Agus mise ann an uireasbhaidh duilich
mise fo bhròn gun do dh’fhuadaich mi thu.
Gabh m’ aithreachas, eun òirdheirc;
lem uile chridhe cha bhithinn
airson d’ fhois a ghoid.

Frobost Owl

 

I went outside on a calm beautiful Uist night
for fresh air and a view
of a lovely harvest moon.
A shrill cry
a creature starting up from the chimney
and rising in the black air
powerful pinions beating the darkness.
An owl taking fright
where she had sought refuge.
A majestic bird fleeing from me
on wide wings
magical silver wings with the moonshine upon them
a splendid shadow sailing out of sight over the Frobost fields.
And I impoverished by my own action,
mourning that I drove you away.
Please accept my remorse, noble bird:
with all my heart, I would not have meant
to rob you of your peace.

An Nighean à Chopacobana

Mòr is donn is òg is maiseach mi
’n nigh’n à Chopacobana a’ spaidsireachd,
sùil gach balach Rio a’ stalcadh
air mo thòir.

Capybara’s Carioca mi,
’s caipirinha ’n deoch a dhòlas mi:
an ainmhidh shomalt’ à Bhrasil –

’n tè as bòidhch’!

An creimeach as motha san t-saoghal mi,
le bikini beag buidh’ orm, a thaghadh mi,
gus spreigeadh miann faoin sna fir gaolaich

Ach gach là, nuair a thèid mi dhan tràigh,
‘s e snàmh a bheir tlachd dhomh is àigh…

Mòr is donn is òg is maiseach mi
’n nigh’n à Chopacobana a’ spaidsireachd
seachad ort, aig àm
a’ Charnavail,
’s chan fhaic mi càch…

’S mi ’n Capybara…
’n nigh’n as àille,
is bidh gu bràth.

The Girl from Copacabana

Large and brown and young and lovely,
I’m the girl from Copacobana; I’m strutting,
and every lad’s eye in Rio lusts
after me.

I’m a Capybara, a native of Rio,
a Caipirinha’s my favourite tipple,
the strapping hot beast from Brazil
– for I am she!

A rodent – yes, I’m the world’s largest;
in my small gold bikini, my art is
to rouse foolish men’s amorous ardour…

but each day, I go down to the sea,
for a swim’s the best pleasure for me…

Large and brown and young and lovely,
I’m the girl from Copacobana; I’m strutting
straight past you
at Carnival time:
there’s no-one I see..

Capybara, that’s me –
the loveliest girl
there will ever be.

Cumha a’ Chrùin Chiomaich

’S mi nam shuidh’ seo nam aonar
Ann am bocsa gun ghrian,
Ghoid an duibhre mo shaorsa:
Rìgh! ’S cha mhòr nach caill mi m’ rian.

Sèist
A Cheòlraidh, ur sunnd!
Is glèidhear ur reachd.
Cha bràigh’ mis’ an crùn,
’S chan àichear mo rùn:
sàr-urram do bhàird ri teachd.

Ged de mheileabhaid purpidh
Rinneadh cluasag m’àit’-suidhe,
’B e sèithear bàird ùraicht’,
No ceann-duainair’ a guidheam.

Caoidht’ an cliù a bu ghnàth leam,
leth-cheud bliadhn’ bhithinn builicht’
air ur bathais – a bhàrdaibh! –
a choisinn a’ phrìomh dhuais.

Ach fichead bliadhn’ orm fadachd –
’s mi sa chiste chiar ghlaiste –
ri bhith fillte mar labhras
air ceann nam bàrd aithnicht’.

Cluinnibh fathann ro-iongantach!
Is mithich dhomh dùsgadh!
Thèid mo lìomhadh is dustadh –
Òir thèid bàrd ùr a’ chrùnadh!

Às a’ chiste mo ghruaim
Is àill leam nis tàireadh.
Gheibh bàrd ùr an seann duais
Is èirich le àigh mi!

Rìgh! Leigibh a-mach mi!
Nis leigibh às mi!!

Sèist mu dheireadh
Togaibh ur ceann, is togaibh ur peann,

a bhàrdaibh, ’s ur tàlann gun tàlainn.
Mis’ an crùn, ’s tha mi beò!
Ar cànan ’s ar cèol,
Suas le bàrdachd, is suas leis a Ghàidhlig!

Lament of the Captive Crown

Here I sit alone and lonely
In a box without sunlight,
Darkness has stolen my freedom:

Lord! I risk losing my sanity.

Chorus
Muses, lift your spirits!
May your rule prevail.
I, the crown, am not captive,
nor is my purpose to be denied:
true honour to future bards.

Though my seat’s a fine cushion
Made of purple velvet,
I should prefer to sit in the bardic chair
Or on the head of a poet.

My former renown’s to be mourned,
My half-century customarily bestowed

on your temples – you poets,
those who won the eminent prize.

But for twenty years I have yearned –
locked away in this gloomy casket –
to be placed, like a laurel-wreath,
on the head of an acknowledged bard.

But hear now! A marvellous rumour!
It is time for me to awaken!
I shall be polished up and dusted off –
for a new bard is to be crowned!

Out of my melancholy casket
I am delighted to escape at last.
A new poet will receive this ancient prize
And I shall soar with joy!

Lord! Release me now!
Now set me free!

Last Chorus
Lift your heads, and lift your pens

Poets, I wish to reward your gifts.
I am the crown, and I Iive!
For our language and music
Raise up your poems, here’s to Gaelic!