‘And she spread the story’

From the writer of one of the most famous Gaelic songs of the 20th century comes a collection of remarkable, and previously unpublished, poems. Maraiche nan Cuantan is one of the most well-known songs in the contemporary Gaelic culture of Scotland, and was composed by Flòraidh NicPhàil. Now, for the first time in print, readers have the opportunity to read for themselves the full extent of Flòraidh’s poetic talents in this exquisite poetry collection, including translations by the poet. The ‘bàrd baile’ tradition that Flòraidh writes in was once very popular in Highland and Island communities. It is now quite rare, which is what makes Flòraidh’s poems particularly unique.

Extract from Maraiche nan Cuantan
By Flòraidh NicPhàil
Published by Acair Books

“Gròc, Gròc,” Ars am Fitheach

’N d’ rinn thu cron an-diugh?
Rinn tòrr.
Dè rinn thu?
Ghoid mi bròg.
Cò bu leis i?
Oighrig òg.
An robh i snasail?
Cuaran òir.
Càit a bheil i?
Starsnaich Dheòrs’.
Deòrsa Foirbheach?
Abair spòrs!
Am faca duin’ i?
Ciorstaidh chòir.
A’ chabag bheag ud?
An dearbh òigh!
Is thog i naidheachd?
Mar bu nòs.
An tug e omhail?
Ruaidh à ghruaidhean
Mar an ròs!

“Caw! Caw!” Said the Raven
(English Translation)

Have you been up to mischief today?
I have indeed.
What were you up to?
I stole a shoe.
To whom did it belong?
Young Effie.
Was it fancy?
A gold sandal.
Where is it?
In George’s doorway.
George the Elder?
What a joke!
Did anyone see it?
‘Kindly’ Kirsty.
That wee gossip?
The very one!
And she spread the story?
As usual.
Was he aware of it?
His cheeks reddened
Like the rose!

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