Le Sgàire Uallas
Sùilean meallach air gach taobh,
cha lèir dhaibh nimh an làin;
‘s faoin an sealladh, sùilean daonnd,
don àite-cluich muir-tràigh.
Cha mhearachadh-sùl ach sùileachan fìor
a’ bhuinne chithear thall;
a’ bhuinne thaibhseil thana liath
na raoic le roit a-nall.
Is càch gun saoil ‘ad miannan-sùl
de shùilean-cruthaich, cealgach bog;
nan ruidhle shaor an comhair an cùil
gun sluigear grad dhan t-sloc.
Ach mo shùil-sa togam do chum nam beann,
‘s ann asta thig an laom;
air tighead a’ cheò thig glòr as labhr’
a chur air shùil an t-saogh’l.
Oir ‘s iomadh rud nach fhaic an t-sùil
sna thàlas air thalamh ‘s e sgèimheach;
ach èistibh dlùth is cluinnear rùn –
gur breitheanas tha e ag èigheachd.
Sùilean meallach air gach taobh
tha fàillinneach àrdanach truaillt’;
sùilean meallta bàthte baoth –
bu bhuadhmhoir cluas ri duan.
Translations of this Poem
Pleasant gazes all around
that cannot see the danger of the tide —
their sight is vain, human eyes,
whose play-place is low-tide.
No illusion, but a true lesson
is the racing current you see out there —
the ghostly, shallow, sea-grey current
roaring, racing this way.
And the rest, those who think they find
what they desire in rippling, deceptive, moist bogs —
they are dancing backwards in a free reel
till they are swallowed whole by the pit.
But I raise my eye towards the mountains,
for the light comes from them —
even through the thick mist it comes,
the highest voice, to reveal the world.
Many things have the eyes missed
among what is elegant, attractive on this earth;
but listen close and hear a secret —
it is judgment that the voice proclaims.
Pleasant gazes all around:
they are pockmarked, arrogant, rotten;
gazes deceived, drowned, foolish —
they’d do better to lend an ear to poetry.
About this poem
This poem was chosen by Ceitidh Campbell as part of the Scottish Poetry Library’s ‘Champions’ project, a guest curatorship programme to help extend our national reach.
Campbell says, ‘Do we really appreciate the truth when it is presented to us? A blinkered approach of our own significance or contribution rather than appreciating the bigger picture. The truth, however, is there whatever the outward appearance. A thought provoking piece that brought to mind Shakespere’s Hamlet “Look here upon this picture and on this’ (Act 3 Scene 4) and echoes of Calum and Ruairidh MacDonald’s seminal ‘Cearcall a’ chuain’.’