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PART OF THE International Publishing ISSUE

‘syne your fairheid set it lowein / toun sae skyrie, starnie-splendant.’

Stornoway-based Acair publish a diverse array of books for adults and children in Gaelic, English and sometimes Scots. Here we showcase the art of translation by presenting a selection of poetry from Sorley MacLean with Derrick McClure, and Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul in different versions.

Meas Air Chrannaibh / Fruit On Branches
By Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul
Published by Acair

Translations available in Gaelic, Scots and English

“Ma tha neach cho beannaichte ‘s gu bheil gach cuid Gàidhlig agus Beurla aige, agus gu bheil ùidh aige ann an eadar-theangachadh, chanainn gun còrdadh an t-eadar-theangachadh a tha an seo gu math ris.  Tha e, anns a’ chumantas, cuimseach agus ealanta… Ach ‘s ann anns na dàin fhein a tha an t-ionmhas.”

“If there is somebody so blessed as to be able to speak both Gaelic and English, who also holds a keen interest in the art of translation, I’d thoroughly recommend the following translation presented here. Generally, they are both accurate and artistic… But, it is within the poetry itself that lies the real treasure.”

– Dòmhnall MacAmhlaigh/Donald MacAulay

A’ Chuirm

Am pìobaire air thoiseach,
ged nach eil duine ag èisteachd ris a’ phort:
chan eil ann ach sealladh brèagha an fhèilidh,
agus am fuaim ag èirigh dha na speuran.

Tha a’ bhanais seachad
‘s gach neach air dhòigh: confeataidh is
clag nam camarathan ‘a tha ghrian a’ deàrrdadh
òr.

Seann bhanntrach taobh muigh na rèile
a’ guidhe gach beannachd air a chàraid-chèile:
an tè bu bhòidhche bh’ anns an t-saoghal
a’ faicinn tìm, le gàir’, ga trèigsinn.

The Waddin

First o aa, the piper,
naebody heedin his muisic, tho:
thay’re aa jist goamin at the glamour o ‘s kilt,
as the lilt spirls up tae the lift.

The waddin’s by,
an aabody’s cantie: confetti
an camera-clicks, an the sun glentin
gowd.

An auld weida outside the palins
prayin for ilka blessin on the ying fowk:
her at wes bonniest in aa the warld
watchin time as it rins lauchin awa.

The Celebration

The piper marching ahead,
though no one listens to his music:
everyone dazzled by the colours of the kilt
and the tune rising into the ether.

The wedding is sealed
and everyone well pleased: confetti
and the noise of cameras and the sun shining
gold.

An old widow outside the railings
praying every blessing on the newly-weds:
the most beautiful one in the whole world
watching time joyfully forsaking her.


Sangs Tae Eimhir
By Derrick McClure and Sorley MacLean
Published by Acair

Translations available in Gaelic and Scots

Ainmean nan Dàn

Dh’ fhoillseacheadh 50 dhen trì fichead Dàn do Eimhir a sgrìobh Somhairle MacGill-Eain air fad nuair a nochd an leabhar Dàin do Eimhir agus Dàin Eile ann an 1943 (ged a bha a dhà, VI agus XV, anns na ‘Dàin Eile’), ach cha tug MacGill-Eain ainm ach air ochd dhiubh.  Ach nuair a nochd cuid dhe na Dàin do Eimhir ann an 1977 ann an leabhar de dhàin thaghte, Reothairt is Contraigh, cha robh iad idir ann mar shreath – ‘s ann a bha iad air an cur am measg nan dàn eile – is thug am bàrd an uair sin ainm air a h-uile gin a bha gun ainm.  Thachair an aon rud anns a’ chruinneachadh O Choille gu Bearradh ann an 1989, ach gu robh tuilleadh dhe na Dain do Eimhir san leabhar sin – 36 air fad.  ‘S iad na h-ainmean sin a chaidh a chleachdadh san leabhar seo, agus air sgàth gu bheil cuid dhe na Dàin do Eimhir nach do nochd san dà leabhar eile, tha iad sin gun ainmh fhathast.

Teitles o the Sangs

Frae among Sorley MacLean’s saxty Sangs tae Eimhir, 50 kyth’t in the buik Dàin do Eimhir agus Dàin Eile, furthpitten in 1943 (houbeit twa a thaim, VI an XV, wes amang the ‘Dàin Eile’ (Ither Sangs); but MacLean hed gien teitles jist tae eicht o thaim.  In 1977, a curnie o the Sangs was inhauden in the outwale Reothairt is Contraigh, no in the oreiginal orderin but sparpl’t amang the ither poems in the buik insteid; an this time the makar hed gien ilkane o thaim a teitle.  Mair o the Sangs – 36 aathegither – wes pitten intil the 1989 outwale O Choille gu Bearradh, aa wi teitles again.  In the buik afore ye we hae uisit their teitles; but sen a whein o the sangs never kyth’t in aither o the twa outhales, thay bide wantin teitles still.

An DÙN ÈIDEANN: 1939

Tric ‘s mi gabhail air Dùn Èideann
baile glas gun ghathadh grèine,
‘s ann a lasadh e led bhòidhche,
baile lòghmhor geul-reultach.

IN EMBRA: 1939

Aft sic name I’d cry tae Embra:
toun sae gray, nae sun-glints dertin;
syne your fairheid set it lowein,
toun sae skyrie, starnie-splendant.


Meas Air Chrannaibh by Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul and Sangs Tae Eimhir by Sorley Maclean and Derrick McClure, are both available now from Stornoway-based Acair.

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