2.1.2 The poems
Your reading in this course has already prepared you to some extent, but please read the following poems (both the English and Gaelic versions are given) which are discussed in the recordings, and then listen to the recordings.
A company of mountains, an upthrust of mountains
a great garth of growing mountains
a concourse of summits, of knolls, of hills
coming on with a fearsome roaring.
A rising of glens, of gloomy corries,
a lying down in the antlered bellowing;
a stretching of green nooks, of brook mazes,
prattling in the age-old mid-winter.
A cavalry of mountains, horse-riding summits,
a streaming head long haste of foam,
a slipperiness of smooth flat rocks, small-bellied bare summits,
flat-rock snoring of high mountains.
A surge-belt of hill-tops,
impetuous thigh of peaks,
the murmuring bareness of marching turrets,
green flanks of Mosgary,
barbarous pinnacles of high moorlands.
Ceann Loch Aoineart
Cómhlan bheanntan, stóiteachd bheanntan,
córr-lios bheanntan fásmhor,
cruinneachadh mhullaichean, thulaichean, shiéibhtean,
tighinn ‘sa’ bheucaich ghábhaidh.
Eirigh ghleanntan, choireachan údlaidh,
laighe ‘s a’ bhúirich chrácaich;
sineadh chluaineagan, shuaineagan srúlach,
briodal ‘s an dúbhlachd ársaidh.
Eachdraidh bheanntan, marcachd mhullaichean,
deann-ruith shruthanach cáthair,
sleamhnachd leacannan, seangachd chreachainnean,
strannraich leacanach árd-bheann.
monmhar luim thurraidean mársail,
borb-bhiodan mhonaidhean árda.
At the far edge of a mountain there is a green nook
where the deer eat water-cress,
in its side a great unruffled eye of water,
a shapely jewel-like spring.
One day I came with my love
to the side of the remote brook.
She bent her head down to its brink
and it did not look the same again.
I reached the distant little green
many a time again, alone
and when I looked into the swirling water
there was in it only the face of my treasure-trove.
But the glens were going away
and the pillared mountains were not waiting for me:
the hills did not look
as if my chanced-on treasure had been seen.
Tha cluaineag ann an iomall sléibh
far an ith na féidh lus biolaire;
‘na taobh suil uisge mhór réidh,
fuaran leugach cuimir ann.
Air latha thainig mi le m’ ghaol
gu taobh a' chaochain iomallaich,
chrom i h-aodann sios ri bhruaich
‘s cha robh a thuar fhéin tuilleadh air.
Rainig mi a’ chluaineag chéin
a rithist liom fhéin iomadh uair,
agus nuair choimhead mi ‘san t-srulaich
cha rogh ach gnuis té m’ ulaidh innt’.
Ach bha na glinn is iad a’ falbh
is calbh nam beann gun fhuireach rium,
cha robh a choltas air na sléibhtean
gum facas m' eudail ulaidhe.
She To Whom I Gave…
She to whom I gave all love
gave me no love in return;
though my agony was for her sake,
she did not understand the shame at all.
But often in the thoughts of night
when my mind is a dim wood
a breeze of memory comes stirring the foliage,
putting the wood's assuagement to unrest.
And from the depths of my body's wood,
from sap-filled root and slender branching,
there will be the heavy cry: why was her beauty
like a horizon opening the door to day?
An Te Dh'an Tug Mi…
An té dh’ an rug mi uile ghaol
cha tug i gaol dhomh air a shon;
ged a chiurradh mise air a sailleabh
cha do thuig i ‘n tamailt idir.
Ach trie an smuaintean na h-oidhch’
an uair bhios m’ aigne ‘na coille chiair,
thig osag chuimhne ‘g gluasad duillich,
ag cur a furtachd gu luasgan.
Agus bho dhoimhne coille ehuim,
o fhriamhach snodhaich ‘s meangach meanbh,
bidh eubha throm: carson bha h-aille
mar fhosgladh faire ri latha?
I did not see Lannes at Ratisbon
nor MacLennan at Auldearn
nor Gillies MacBain at Culloden,
but I saw an Englishman in Egypt.
A poor little chap with chubby cheeks
and knees grinding each other,
pimply unattractive face –
garment of the bravest spirit.
He was not a bit “in the pub
in the time of the fists being closed,”
but a lion against the breast of battle,
in the morose wounding showers.
His hour came with the shells,
with the notched iron splinters,
in the smoke and flame,
in the shaking and terror of the battlefield.
Word came to him in the bullet shower
that he should be a hero briskly,
and he was that while he lasted
but it wasn't much time he got.
He kept his guns to the tanks,
bucking with tearing crashing screech,
until he himself got, about the stomach,
that biff that put him to the ground,
mouth down in sand and gravel,
without a chirp from his ugly high-pitched voice.
No cross or medal was put to his
chest or to his name or to his family;
there were not many of his troop alive,
and if there were their word would not be strong.
And at any rate, if a battle post stands
many are knocked down because of him,
not expecting fame, not wanting a medal
or any froth from the mouth of the field of slaughter.
I saw a great warrior of England,
a poor manikin on whom no eye would rest;
no Alasdair of Glen Garry;
and he took a little weeping to my eyes.
Chan fhaca mi Lannes aig Ratasbon
no MacGill-Fhinnein aig Allt Eire
no Gill-Iosa aig Cuil-Lodair,
ach chunnaic mi Sasunnach ‘san Eiphit.
Fear beag truagh le gruaidhean pluiceach
is gliiinean a'bleith a chéile,
aodann guireanach gun tlachd ann –
comhdach an spioraid bu tréine.
Cha robh buaidh air ‘“san tigh-osda
‘n am nan dorn a bhith ‘gan dunadh”,
ach leoghann e ri uchd a’ chatha,
anns na frasan guineach mugach.
Thainig uair-san leis na sligean,
leis na spealgan-iaruinn bearnach,
anns an toit is anns an lasair,
ann an crith is maoim na haraich.
Thainig fios dha ‘san fhrois pheileir
e bhith gu spreigearra ‘na dhiulnach:
is b'e sin e fhad ‘s a mhair e,
ach cha b'fhada fhuair e dh'uine.
Chum e ghunnachan ris na tancan,
a'bocail le sgriach shracaidh stairnich
gus an d’ fhuair e fhein mu ‘n stamaig
an deannal ud a chuir ri lar e,
bial sios an gainmhich ‘s an greabhal,
gun diog o ghuth caol grannda.
Cha do chuireadh crois no meadal
ri uchd no ainm no g'a chairdean:
cha robh a bheag dhe fhdime maireann,
‘s nan robh cha bhiodh am facal laidir;
‘s co dhiubh, ma sheasas ursann-chatha
leagar moran air a shailleabh
gun duil ri cliu, nach iarr am meadal
no cop ‘sam bith a bial na h-araich.
Chunnaic mi gaisgeach mor a Sasuinn,
fearachan bochd nach laigheadh suil air;
cha b' Alasdair a Gleanna Garadh –
is thug e gal beag air mo shuilean.
(Some Nazi or other has said that the Fuehrer had restored to German manhood the ‘right and joy of dying in battle’.)
Sitting dead in “Death Valley”
below the Ruweisat Ridge
a boy with his forelock down about his cheek
and his face slate-grey;
I thought of the right and the joy
that he got from his Fuehrer,
of falling in the field of slaughter
to rise no more;
Of the pomp and the fame
that he had, not alone,
though he was the most piteous to see
in a valley gone to seed
with flies about grey corpses
on a dun sand
dirty yellow and full of the rubbish
and fragments of battle.
Was the boy of the band
who abused the Jews
and Communists, or of the greater
band of those
led, from the beginning of generations,
unwillingly to the trial
and mad delirium of every war
for the sake of rulers?
Whatever his desire or mishap,
his innocence or malignity,
he showed no pleasure in his death
below the Ruweisat Ridge.
Glac a’ Bhais
(Thubhairt Nasach air choireigin gun tug am Furair air ais do fhir na Gearmailte ‘a’ choir agus an sonas bas fhaotainn anns an araich’.)
‘Na shuidhe marbh an “Glaic a'Bhais”
fo Dhruim Ruidhiseit,
gill'og ‘s a logan sios m'a ghruaidh
‘s a thuar grisionn.
Smaoinich mi air a’ choir ‘s an agh
a fhuair e bho Fhurair,
bhith tuiteam arm an raon an air
gun éirigh tuilleadh;
air a’ ghreadhnachas ‘s air a'chliu
nach d'fhuair e ‘na aonar,
ged b’ esan bu bhronaiche snuadh
ann an glaic air laomadh
le cuileagan mu chuirp ghlas’
air gainmhich lachduinn
‘s i salach-bhuidhe ‘s Ian de raip
‘s de spruidhlich catha.
An robh an gille air an dream
a mhab na h-Iudhaich
‘s na Comunnaich, no air an dream
bu mhotha, dhiubh-san
a threorakheadh bho thoiseach al
gun deoin gu buaireadh
agus bruaillean cuthaich gach blair
air sgath uachdaran?
Ge b'e a dheoin-san no a chas,
a neoichiontas no mhiorun,
cha do nochd e toileachadh ‘na bhas
fo Dhruim Ruidhiseit.