Cruaidh?

Cruaidh?
Cuil-lodair, is Briseadh na h-Eaglaise,
is briseadh nan tacannan – 
lamhachas-làidir dà thrian de ar comas;
‘se seòltachd tha dhìth oirinn.
Nuair a theirgeas a’ chruaidh air faobhar na speala
caith bhuat a’ chlach-liomhaidh;
chan eil agad ach iarann bog
mur eil de chruas nad innleachd na ni sgathadh.

Is caith bhuat briathran mìne
oir chan fhada bhios briathran agad;
tha Tuatha Dè Danann fon talamh,
tha Tìr nan Og anns an Fhraing,
‘s nuair a ruigeas tu Tìr a’ Gheallaidh,
mura bi thu air t’ aire,
coinnichidh Sasannach riut is plion air,
a dh’ innse dhut gun tug Dia, bràthair athar, còir dha anns an fhearann.
Derick Thomson

from Creachadh na Clàrsaich: Cruinneachadh de Bhardachd 1940-1980 / Plundering the Harp: Collected Poems 1940-1980 (Macdonald Publishers, 1982)

Reproduced by permission of the author.
Steel?
Culloden, the Disruption,
and the breaking up of the tack-farms – 
two thirds of our power is violence;
it is cunning we need.
When the tempered steel near the edge of the scythe-blade is worn
throw away the whetstone;
you have nothing left but soft iron
unless your intellect has a steel edge that will cut clean.

And throw away soft words,
for soon you will have no words left;
the Tuatha Dè Danann* are underground,
the Land of the Ever-young is in France,
and when you reach the Promised Land,
unless you are on your toes,
a bland Englishman will meet you,
and say to you that God, his uncle, has given him a title to the land.

* Tuatha Dè Danann, a supernatural race in Ireland, sometimes said to 
be the progenitors of the fairies.
translated by Derick Thomson
Derick Thomson

No Gaelic poet has had more influence on the generation that followed him than Derick Thomson. As poet, publisher, and editor of the literary quarterly Gairm, Thomson has shaped the development of Gaelic writing in the post-war period.

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