Marcas Mac an Tuairneir

Marcas Mac an Tuairneir works in Gaelic and English and is award-winning writer across genres, including poetry, prose, songwriting and journalism. He has published two poetry collections, Deò (Gracenote, 2013) and Lus na Tùise' (Bradan, 2016), as well as the pamphlet beul-fo-bhonn / heelster-gowdie, co-authored with Stuart A. Paterson (Tapsalteerie, 2017). He was the recipient of the Wigtown Gaelic Poetry Prize in 2017 and his two full-length plays won the Stornoway Gazette Trophy at the Royal National Mòd. His debut novel Cuairteagan will be published in 2020 by Acair, and his third collection Dùileach and an expanded version of beul-fo-bhonn / heelster-gowdie will appear with Evertype.

www.marcas.scot

Head-and-shoulder shot of Marcas Mac an Tuairneir in a checked shirt and waistcoat, smiling

Photo: Playwrights' Studio Scotland

Events

Wigtown Poetry Prize Showcase »

Listen to winners and runners up from the biggest poetry competition in Scotland

Fri 6 March | 13:00 - 14:00 | £4.50/£3.50 | Parliament Hall, South Street

Poem

Duine

Feòil is fuil is cnàmh is eanchainn.
Buill gam figh’ air ais rin cèile,
bioran iarainn a phrioc an smior,
cliathach thar ghàgan sa chraiceann.

Tha a chliabh na mèidh,
siantan uile nan cuideaman
is an dùbhlan roimhe
an tomhas is an cothromachadh.
’S aithne dhut an tòimhseachan.

Chan iongnadh an crùbaiche san dà-rìribh,
càrna air ait air na ceanglachain.
Croman duine dh’fhàs cleachdte ris na buillean:
stiall fala san uisge,
an àin a dhath an fheusag,
uspag a sheacas deòir làir.

Tionndaidhidh thu bhuaithe,
faclan do bheuma caithte dhan na speuran.
’S mathaid gu bheil sin nas fhasa.
Chan eil ann ach comharra-ceist.

Cha mhùchadh tu an làsair ann,
ach tu iomagaineach ron chorrachaig-cagailt.
Sradag ga chur ann, ’s mathaid gun lasar tùrlach -
tha thu air fhaicinn roimhe.

Ghlèidheadh tu air talamh e:
làmhan a ghrèimicheadh adhbrannan.
Ga leigeil mu sgaoil, ’s mathaid gur esan iteal,
fèileadh is lèine nan itealag craoibhe-seice,
solas sìolaichte tro chraiceann, mar sgiath ialtaige.

Dhiùltadh tu an sealladh sin;
ged bu bhòidheach is neònach e, aig an aon àm,
tìm is na sìontan gan tarraing còmhla,
’s mathaid gun stiùireadh e na siantan.

Giùlan de neòil a’ tolladh,
sràcan dealanaich is tàirneanaich.
’S mathaid gun dòrtadh an dìle
thar duine a chruthaich an saoghal:
bodach-ròcais bàird,
na bhogha-froise nis sgapte,
gach tuar is dath nam boinneagan,
a’ sileadh sìos gu rùsg na cruinne,
is sibhse uile, cruinnichte
acrach beul-fosgailte.

 

Man

Flesh and blood and bone and brain.
Limbs knit back together,
pins of iron that puncture the marrow,
latticed across the skin’s crevices.

His ribcage is a weighing scale,
his fundaments, his measures
and his challenge is to balance them.
You know the conundrum, yourself.

Little wonder, then, the limping,
flesh swollen on the ligaments.
A hunchback accustomed to the punches:
bloody streak in the water,
the fire has scorched the beard,
teardrops evaporate on the centre ground.

You turn from him,
to cast the words of insult to empyrean.
Maybe that’s easier.
He’s just a question mark.

You wouldn’t stifle the flame within,
but you’re anxious of the embers, dancing.
Spark them and they might alight a blaze -
you have seen it before. 

You’d keep him earth-bound:
hands grasp the ankles.
Let at large, he might take flight,
kilt and shirt, a sycamore kite,
light filtered through his skin, like a batwing.

That’s a vision you’d avoid;
could be beautiful, could be queer, or both,
time and essence pulled together
and he might yet command the elements.

A drift of clouds gather,
strokes of lightning, thundering
and the downpour may yet descend
on the man the world created:
this scarecrow of a poet,
now a rainbow, shattered,
every hue and pigment in the droplets,
showering down to earth
and you all, gathered there,
ravenous and enraptured.

 

Marcas Mac an Tuairneir