Dh’iarrainn-sa gnè na h-aibhne a bhith agam,
ruitheas gu soilleir glan fo Chille Mhàrtainn.
Chì thu i siubhal luath fon drochaid stàilinn
a thèid sràid an taigh-òsta thairis oirre.
Theireadh neach a bhiodh gad fhaicinn crom,
’s tus’ a’ geur-amharc air na h-uisgeachan,
gur sgàthan e a bha thu sealltainn ann.
Ach cha ghlacar leat ìomhaigh sam bith,
chan fhaicear leat ach dian-atharrachadh
susbaint na h-aibhn’, no fantainn ball-critheach
nan iasg a tha mar chumbaistean, a’ toirt
fios air aomadh a ruith. Ge mòr an tlachd
a ghabhas iad san fhionnarachd do-thraoghadh,
ged a bu chaomh leam fhìn a bhith ’nam iasg,
dh’iarrainn, nam b’ urrainn dhomhs’, a bhith ’nam abhainn,
gun fhios dè bhitheadh ’na fhìor-bhrìgh do m’ bhith,
ioma-chaochlachd shìorraidh m’ uisgeachan
no mo dhà bhruaich, a’ toirt dhomh riochd is cruth.
Translations of this Poem
I'd like to be the river
Translator: W. N. Herbert
I’d like to be the river that runs
straight through Kilmartin, steel-clean and clear.
You can watch it race beneath the bridge
on the street that leads to your hotel.
If anyone saw you leaning keenly
staring at the stream they’d say
you must be looking in the mirror
but you won’t catch your reflection there,
only the eager fury for change
that’s at the river’s heart, the shudder
of fish like compasses, that indicates
the only north they know. Although
they take pleasure from its changeless chill
and I might love to share that joy,
I’d prefer to, if I could, be the river,
with no need to know my meaning, just
forever altering, and passing on
between the shaping of my banks.
About this poem
This poem and the translation or ‘response’ were published in Dreuchd An Fhigheadair / The Weaver’s Task: a Gaelic Sampler, edited by Christopher Whyte, and published by the Scottish Poetry Library in 2007. Seven Scottish poets with no knowledge of Gaelic were offered literal versions of contemporary Gaelic poems. Their responses were published alongside the Gaelic originals in the book, and can also be read on the website collected under the tag: The Weaver’s Task.