Bàrdachd

Bàrdachd
Tha i mar bharaille de sgadan saillte: 
chan eil agad ach do chròg 
a stobadh ann, agus dòrlach a thoirt a-mach, 
reamhar is tiugh leis a' bhuntàta.

Stob 
an t-ìm na mheasg 
agus tha cuirm agad: Eliot is Donnachadh Bàn, 
le do làmhan rùisgte. Seachain 
forca is sgian: fàg sin aig na sgoilearan.

Nuair a thig thu gu bonn a' bharaille 
sgròb na craicinn ri chèile, 
dean ràth chnàimhean, 
lìon lannan 
‘s tilg sin thairis 
dìreach mu àm reothairt.

Ma ghlacas tu adag, 
thoir leat i: nuair tha an sgadan 
gann, nì easgann fraighte fhèin a' chùis 
san acras.
Angus Peter Campbell

from Aibisidh (Edinburgh: Polygon 2011)

Reproduced by permission of the publisher.
Poetry
It's like a barrel of salt herring: 
you only have to stick your paw 
in, and lift a handful out, 
thick and juicy with the tatties.

Pile 
the butter in the middle 
and you have a feast: Eliot and Duncan Bàn, 
eaten with your bare fingers. Don't use 
a knife and fork: leave that to the scholars.

When you reach the bottom of the barrel 
scrape the skins together, 
make a raft of bones, 
a net of fine filament, 
and fling it over the side 
just after the spring tide.

If you catch a common haddock, 
take it anyway: in the absence 
of a fat herring even eels 
taste fine when deep-fried.
translated by Angus Peter Campbell
Angus Peter Campbell

Poet and novelist Angus Peter Campbell was born in South Uist and now lives in the Highlands, where he works in the media.

Read more about this poet