Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 204: the Quiraing ridge in Staffin, Isle of Skye

Cuith-raing

ann an Tròndairnis
èiridh na binneanan
mar fhuamhairean sa cheò

Cuith-raing trang le luchd-turais
dotagan air a’ cheum

iolaire ag àrd-sheòladh
aiteal òir a sgèithe
thar monadh is slèibhe

os cionn Loch Hàsco
èiridh Grianan nam Maighdean

na cnocan nan cuach
dhan loch na aisling dhorch
na shùil a’ meòrachadh

sòbhragan buidhe nar cuimhne
na cairtean làir uile fo ar sùil

an lòn beag a’ triall gu Loch Langaig
snighe nam boinneagan air a’ chreig
ag innse sgeulachd a’ chridhe

A’ Chailleach leatha fhèin
na seasamh air Leathad na Caillich

a’ faicinn an eilein, chan e Kasashima
ach Altabhaig, Eilean a’ Chinn Mhòir
le tobhta Caibeal Dhòrais

an t-eilean air chumadh eala
mar a chunnaic na Lochalannaich e sa bhàgh

stàilinn fhuar sna dùirn
‘aig ‘is ‘sèadair’ a’ breacadh na tìr
mar fheur susuki sa chuimhne

aol-chluigeanan air a’ chreig
a’ leaghadh beag air bheag

reothadh agus sneachda
na gocain ’s na gealbhoinn
a’ sireadh an t-sìl sna gàrraidhean

fo sgèith a’ Chuain Sgìth tòisichidh
taigh-solais Rubha Rèidh a’ priobadh

tàirneanaich nan tonn air a’ chladach
am feamainn a’ cruinneachadh na thiùrr
agus sgriachail nan eun mara

na marcan-sìne nan deann sa bhàgh
’s na bàtaichean a’ gabhail fasgadh

òtrach ris a’ chladach
còrr is seachd mìle bliadhna
bho dh’fhàgadh na sligean

seann làraichean air feadh an àite
iad mar aisligean sa chuimhe

cuir thugam pòg am broinn slige
’s nuair a chluinneas mi an uiseag
cuiridh mi i rim chluais

a’ chiad ghealag-làir a’ nochdadh
chan fhada gus am bi na h-uain a’ bocail

 

Quiraing Renga

in Trotternish
the pinnacles rise
like giants in the mist

Quiraing busy with tourists
little dots on the path

an eagle flies high
golden wing gleam
over moor and mountain

above Loch Hasco
rises Grianan nan Maighdean

the hills a quaich
for the loch’s dark dream
a contemplative eye

yellow primroses remembered
the tormentil right before us

the little stream makes for Loch Langaig
drops drip on the rock
telling the heart story

the Old Lady on her own
standing on Leathad na Caillich

seeing the island, not Kasashima
but Altabhaig, the isle of the big headland
with the ruin of Doras’s Chapel

the island shaped like a swan
as the Norsemen saw it in the bay

cold steel in their grip
the land speckled with ‘aig’ and ‘shader’
susuki grass in the memory

stalactites on the rock
melting little by little

frost and snow
the tits and sparrows
look for the seed in the gardens

under the wing of the Minch
the Rubha rèidh lighthouse starts to blink

thunderous waves on the shore
the seaware gathering in heaps
and the screeching of seabirds

driven sea spray in the bay
and the boats sheltering

a midden by the shore
over seven thousand years
since the shells were left

ancient markings all over the place
like dreams remembered

send me a kiss in a shell
and when I hear the lark
I’ll put it to my ear

the first snowdrop appears
soon the lambs will frolic.

Maoilios Caimbeul

Gaelic version published in Tro Chloich na Sula (CLAR, 2014)

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