By RunAndrewRun

A Poem for a running rest-day

Part way through week 3 of the running-regime now, and I'm thinking that I'll need a bit of a "theme" for my 'running rest-days' if I'm to have any chance of keeping the Blipfoto diary going for the whole year?

Well - as good friends know, in addition to my love of all things cycling; and my now mild-obsession with running; I'm also a huge fan of poetry and have quite a substantial collection of Poetry Books covering a wide spectrum of poets and subject matter.

And this Saturday just past we went to see Calum's Road at the Traverse Theatre (in town), and one of my favourite Sorley Maclean poems (with a Raasay-link, where the play is set) was mentioned in the production.

The poem is titled 'Hallaig' - it's on page 230 of the pictured collection, but I have always preferred Seamus Heaney's translation, who interprets the latter section of the poem thus:



Hallaig is where they survive,
All the MacLeans and MacLeads
Who were there in the time of Mac Gille Chaluim:
The dead have been seen alive,

The men at their length on the grass
At the gable of every house,
The girls a wood of birch trees
Standing tall, with their heads bowed.

Between The Leac and Fearns
The road is plush with moss
And the girls in a noiseless procession
Going to Clachan as always

And coming boack from Clachan
And Suisnish, their land of the living,
Still lightsome and unheartbroken,
Their stories only beginning.

From Fearns Burn to the raised beach
Showing clear in the shrouded hills
There are only girls congregating,
Endlessly walking along

Back through the gloaming to Hallaig
Through the vivid speechless air,
Pouring down the steep slopes,
Their laughter misting my ear

And their beauty a glaze on my heart.
Then as the kyles go dim
And the sun sets behind Dun Cana
Love's loaded gun will take aim.


Wonderfully evocative - and I'd highly recommend Sorley Maclean's wider collection of poems, whether in their translated form or their original Scottish Gaelic ;-)

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