Màthair

Màthair
Bha sinn a’coimhead nan rionnag
mus do thionndaidh sinn a-steach leis na coin,
is thuirt thu gum bu mhithich dhut
na h-ainmean aca ionnsachadh gu ceart.

Ach chan fhada gus am bi thu fhèin nam measg
’s is mise a bhios a’feuchainn ri d’ainmeachadh,
thusa aig nach fhaca mi do nàdar
ach mar phriobadh fann an cuid solais –

Is tu riamh an ceann do dhleastanais,
mu chòcaireachd, caoraich, leabhraichean;
a bheil fios an d’fhuair thu do dhìol
airson do dheataim is spàirn is sgìths?

O gun lasainn de dh’aighear annad
na leigeadh leam d’fhaicinn gu slàn,
no chan fhaide thu bhuam nuair a shiùbhlas tu
nab ha thu rim thaobh a-nochd.
Meg Bateman

from Soirbheas / Fair Wind (Edinburgh: Polygon, 2007)

Reproduced by permission of the publisher
Mother
We looked at the stars for a while
Before we turned in with the dogs,
And you said it was high time
You learnt their names properly.

But soon you will be among them yourself
And I will be the one trying to name you;
You whose nature I have seen
Only as their faint points of light – 

As you labour behind duty,
Behind house-work, farm-work, books,
And who knows if you have your reward
For your care and effort and exhaustion.

I wish I could kindle a joy in you
That would let me see you whole
Or you won’t be further when you go
Than you were tonight at my side.
from Soirbheas / Fair Wind (Edinburgh: Polygon, 2007)
Meg Bateman

Meg Bateman has been bringing new qualities to Gaelic poetry since her first publications in the 1990s. 

Read more about this poet
About Màthair

This poem was reproduced on a postcard for National Poetry Day 2012. Eight poetry postcards are published each year by the Scottish Poetry Library to celebrate National Poetry Day and are distributed throughout Scotland to schools, libraries and other venues. The theme for 2012 was stars. You can find out more about National Poetry Day in our National Poetry Day pages, where you'll also find resources to go with the poems.