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PART OF THE Making Memories ISSUE

‘I found the body and I found the ants and I found the true face of my community and my culture as it is today. And I’m not going to accept it.’

At last year’s Wigtown Book Festival, BooksfromScotland were presented with this marvellous anthology of Gaelic literature by Clive Boutle of Francis Boutle Publishers. They specialise in documenting the literary histories of minority languages in Europe, and if The Highest Apple is indicative of their list, then we highly recommend you check them out. To give you a sampler of the goodies inside The Highest Apple, we share here pieces from each era in the anthology.

 

Extracts taken from The Highest Apple: An Anthology of Scottish Gaelic Literature
Edited by Wilson McLeod and Michael Newton
Published by Francis Boutle Publishing

 

Muireadhach Albanach Ó Dálaigh

 

M’anam do sgar riomsa a-raoir

M’anam do sgar riomsa a-raoir,
calann ghlan dob ionnsa i n-uaigh;
rugadh bruinne maordha mín
is aonbhla lín uime uainn.

Do tógbhadh sgath aobhdha fhionn
a-mach ar an bhfaongha bhfann:
laogh mo chridhise do chrom,
craobh throm an tighise thall.

M’aonar a-nocht damhsa, a Dhé,
olc an saoghal camsa ad-chí;
dob álainn trom an taoibh naoi
do bhaoi sonn a-raoir, a Rí.

Truagh leam an leabasa thiar,
mo pheall seadasa dhá snámh;
tárramair corp seada saor
is folt claon, a leaba, id lár.

Do bhí duine go ndreich moill
ina luighe ar leith mo phill;
gan bharamhail acht bláth cuill
don sgáth duinn bhanamhail bhinn.

Maol Mheadha na malach ndonn
mo dhabhach mheadha a-raon rom;
mo chridhe an sgáth do sgar riom,
bláth mhionn arna car do chrom.

Táinig an chlí as ar gcuing,
agus dí ráinig mar roinn:
corp idir dá aisil inn
ar dtocht don fhinn mhaisigh mhoill.

Leath mo throigheadh, leath mo thaobh,
a dreach mar an droighean bán,
níor dhílse neach dhí ná dhún,
leath mo shúl í, leath mo lámh.

Leath mo chuirp an choinneal naoi;
’s guirt riom do roinneadh, a Rí;
agá labhra is meirtneach mé –
dob é ceirtleath m’anma í.

Mo chéadghrádh a dearc mhall mhór,
déadbhan agus cam a cliabh:
nochar bhean a colann caomh
ná a taobh ré fear romham riamh.

Fiche bliadhna inne ar-aon,
fá binne gach bliadhna ar nglór,
go rug éinleanabh déag dhún,
an ghéag úr mhéirleabhar mhór.

Gé tú, nocha n-oilim ann,
ó do thoirinn ar gcnú chorr;
ar sgaradh dár roghrádh rom,
falamh lom an domhnán donn.

Ón ló do sáidheadh cleath corr
im theach nochar ráidheadh rum –
ní thug aoighe d’ortha ann
dá barr naoidhe dhorcha dhunn.

A dhaoine, ná coisgidh damh;
faoidhe ré cloistin ní col;
táinig luinnchreach lom ’nar dteagh –
an bhruithneach gheal donn ar ndol.

Is é rug uan í ’na ghrúg,
Rí na sluagh is Rí na ród;
beag an cion do chúl na ngéag
a héag ó a fior go húr óg.

Ionmhain lámh bhog do bhí sonn,
a Rí na gclog is na gceall:
ach! an lámh nachar logh mionn,
crádh liom gan a cor fám cheann.

 

My Soul Parted From Me Last Night

My soul parted from me last night,
a pure body, dearly-loved, is in the grave,
a stately soft bosom taken from me
wound in a single linen sheet.

A beautiful white bloom plucked
from the tender, bending stem:
my heart’s darling has drooped,
the laden branch of yonder house.

I am alone tonight, O God,
treacherous the crooked world you see;
lovely the weight of the fresh form
that was here last night, O King.

Pitiful to me yonder bed
covered by my long rug;
Ah, bed, on you I have seen
a long noble body with tumbling hair.

A person with a gentle face
was lying on one half of my bed;
the only comparison, the hazel bloom
to the dark womanly shadow of sweet voice.

Maol Mheadha of the dark brows,
my mead vessel at my side;
the shadow that has parted was my heart,
a jewelled flower planted here has dropped.

My body escaped the yoke
and made off as her share;
I have become a body in two parts
since the bright lovely gentle one left.

She was one of my feet, one of my sides,
her complexion like the whitethorn,
no one was more loyal to her than to me,
she was one of my eyes, one of my hands.

The new candle was half of my flesh,
harshly have I been treated, Lord;
telling of it I grow faint –
she was the very half of my soul.

My first love, her big calm eye,
her bosom, ivory-white and curved;
neither her soft breast nor her flank
ever touched a man before me.

We were together twenty years,
sweeter our words with every year,
eleven children she bore to me,
the new, lithe-fingered, long branch.

Though I am, I am not,
since my smooth nut fell,
since parting with my dearest dear
the drear world is empty and bare.

Since the day the smooth support
was set up in my house
it was never said a guest had beguiled
the one of the fresh dark brown hair.

O people, do not make me stop,
it is no sin that weeping be heard;
my house has been stripped bare
by the parting of the bright brown glow.

The one who snatched her away in a rush
was the King of hosts and King of roads;
small the fault of the one with branching hair
her leaving her husband while young and fresh.

Beloved the soft hand that lay here,
O King of churches and bells;
Alas, the hand that never blasphemed,
it is torment it is not under my head.

 

Seumas Mac a t-Saoir (James Macintyre)

 

Òran don Ollamh MacIain

An t-ollamh thàinig à Sasann
’N coinneamh ri masl’ thoirt do dh’Alba,
Ged fhuair e suairceas da chleachdadh
Na astar air feadh nan Garbh-chrioch,
Cho luaithe ràinig e dhachaigh
Gu garaidh altram an t-seana-bhruic
Na rug an trùileach an asaid
De bhreugan ascaoin ’s de shalachar.

Ach ’s e ’n Donas fhèin a spor thu
Thug an toil dhuit gun a chàileachd:
Bu chomhartaich dhuit ris a’ ghealaich
Bhith tabhann ri clannaibh nan Gàidheal –
Is olc, a thrù, nach tug thu ’n aire
Mun robh thu cho labharra dhàna
Nach e ’n cù as cruaidhe dealann
As doimhne a ghearras a nàmhaid.

’S dearbha nach fiach leam it’ iolair
A spùilleadh, no tharraing à balg, dhuit:
’S math a dh’fhòghnas leam a’ ghèadhach
Shlìom, ghlas, laghach gad mharbhadh –
Ceapag bhog challtainn gun chorran,
Gun ghuin, gun oirean, gun chalg oirr’,
A lotas do theanga ’s do cholann
As comh-buige re torran mhealgan.

Chan eil mi creidsinn ga-rìreadh
Gur Iaineach friamh na bèiste,
’S ann a fhuaradh e le mhàthair
Ri coigreach le nàdar Bhènuis:
Balach gun mhodh, lomlàn miosgainn,
Tràill neo-mhiosail air fhèin e –
Is tusa an fheòil a chaidh a dholaidh,
A dhùbail boladh, air brèinid.

Ach chan eil coille gun a crìonach
’S bidh clamhan lìonmhor sna seòcaibh,
’S ainneamh ri fhaotainn magh cruithneachd
Gun bhuilgear ann, gun fhòtas;
Tha coimeasg ri fhaighinn gu minig
Anns na gineachainn as bòidhche,
’S chan iongnadh thusa bhith ad thrustair,
Ad thàir, ’s ad ghusgall de d’ sheòrsa.

Gur tu an losgann sleamhainn tàrrbhuidh,
’S tu màigein tàirrngeach nan dìgean,
Gur tu dearc-luachrach a’ chàthair
Ri snàg ’s ri màgaran miltich;
’S tu bratag sgreataidh an fhàsaich,
’S tu ’n t-seilcheag ghrànda, bhog, lìtheach,
’S tu ’n cartan nach fhurasta thàrsainn
Uait na thàrras tu nad ingnean.

Gur tu ’n sgonnachù gollach, sgallach,
’S tu tramasgal salach gach fàs-phoir,
’S tu soplach is moll na fasgnaig
An àm sìol reachdmhor a chàthadh;
’S tu tom odhar an tombaca,
Gur tu stad feachda o bhlàraibh,
Gur tu croman-luch’ na h-ealtainn –
’S tu nis mìr-cagnaidh nam bardan.

Gur tu fuidheagan an aodaich,
Gur tu cnò-chaoch na fìor fhàsaig,
’S tu am madadh-allaidh air chonfhadh,
Gur tu meas toirmisgt’ a’ gharaidh,
’S mòr tha de bheusan, a bhalaich,
A’ bhruid air carradh ad nàdar –
Chan iongnadh ged tha thu sgreamhail
San fhail anns an deachaidh t’ àrach.

Cha bu tu ’n droigheann no ’n cuileann
No ’n t-iubhar fulannach làidir,
Chan eil mìr annad den darach
No de sheileach dearg nam blàran;
Tha chuid as mo dhìot de chritheann,
Ìngnean sgithich ’s làmhan feàrna –
Tha do cheann gu lèir de leamhan,
Gu h-àraidh do theanga ’s do chàirein.

Ceann puinnsein a chinnich na fhàsach
Den fhailbhe ’s den àileadh lomlàn
Gann uiread maighdeige-tràghad
De dh’eanchainn nàdarr’ ad throm-cheann,
Chan iongnadh ged thigeadh toth gràineil
O dheudach beàrnach do ronnachraois
’S do chom gun chridhe gu d’ àinean
Ach uiread màileid de dhomblas.

Am measg nan iasg ’s tu ’n dallag mhùrlaich
A’ bhiast mhùgach sin ’m mac-làmhaich,
’S tu ’n t-isean à meadhan na brèine,
Am broc ’s a shròn na chèir tri ràithean,
A’ mhial chaorach dhan ainm an t-seulain,
Salach an sprèidh tha dhuit càirdeach –
’S mur bitheadh nach toil leam ainm eisge,
Gun dùraiginn fhèin do sgràilleadh.

Ach nì mi nis a bhrìgh do sgòrnail
Glomhar ad bheul mòr a sparradh
Nach dealaich riut fhad ’s as beò thu,
Gach aon deireadh lò ga theannadh;
Bharrachd air na gheibh thu de riasladh
Air ballan-stiallach gad spannadh –
B’ fheàrr dhuit nach beirte bho thòs thu
Ach ad mharbh-laogh bò gun anam.

 

A Song to Dr Johnson

The doctor that came from England
For the aim of slandering Scotland,
Though he found civility practised
In his trip round the Highlands,
No sooner was he home again
In the old badger’s nursing-sett
Than the rogue bore a foetus
Full of coarse lies and rubbish.

But it’s the Devil who inspired you
That gave you love without his genius:
It was howling at the moon for you
To be baying at the Gael –
Too bad, you wretch, you didn’t notice
Before being so rude and insulting
That the dog which barks the loudest
Does not bite his foe the deepest.

For you I’ll certainly not trouble to plunder
An eagle’s feather, or draw one from a quiver:
The goose quill, slim, grey and pretty,
Is quite enough for me to slay you with
A soft stave of hazel with no cutting edge,
With no bite, no edges, no point on it,
For wounding your tongue and your body
Which is as soft as a heap of fish-milts.

In truth I do not really believe
That this creature’s a true son of John,
It’s to some stranger his mother bore him
Through the natural laws of Venus:
A discourteous churl, full of malice,
He’s a slave with no self-respect –
You’re a heap of flesh that’s gone off,
Always smelly, now with twice the stench.

But there is no wood that won’t wither
And kites are plentiful midst falcons.
It is rare to find a field of wheat
With no thistles there, no weeds.
An admixture is frequently found
In the most perfect of conceptions.
So it’s no surprise you’re a rascal,
A reproach, and a reject of your race.

You’re the slimy yellow-bellied toad,
You’re the sluggish crawler of ditches,
You’re the lizard of the swamp
Which creeps and slithers through sweet-grass;
You’re the ugly wasteland caterpillar,
You’re the foul, soft, slimy snail,
You’re the botfly hard to relieve
Of what you’ve seized in your claws.

You’re the mean, vile, greedy cur,
You’re the foul trash of each growing-crop.
You’re the dirt and refuse of the corn-fan
When good strong seed’s being winnowed;
You’re the pale stools of tobacco.
You’re what stops armies going to battles,
You’re the kestrel of the birdflock –
You’re now the chewing-gum of the poets.

You’re the thrum-end of the cloth,
You’re the shell with no nut in it,
You’re the hydrophobic wolf,
You’re the banned fruit of the garden,
Many brutish habits, you churl,
Have formed a scab in your nature –
It’s no surprise you’d be disgusting
In the pigsty you were reared in.

You’d not be the thorn or the holly
Or the tough enduring yew,
There’s not a bit in you of oak
Or the red willow of the plains;
Most of you is of aspen,
With whitethorn nails and alder hands –
Your whole head is made of elm,
Especially your tongue and your gums.

A head of poison that became a vacuum
Full of emptiness and air
With scarce as much as a little shore-whelk
Of natural brain in your bloated head,
It’s no surprise if a foul smell wafts
From your huge spittlemouth’s gapped teeth
Since your trunk has no heart for your liver
But just a satchelful of gall instead.

Amongst sea creatures you’re the purblind dogfish,
That snuffling monstrosity the catfish,
You are the chicken from amidst the stench,
The brock with his nose three seasons in his arse,
You are the sheep-louse that they call the tick.
Vile are the creatures that are kin to you –
And if it weren’t that I hate the name of satirist,
I myself would wish to make fun of you.

But now on account of your throaty gargling
I’ll stick a gag in your massive mouth
That won’t part from you as long as you live.
Being tightened at the end of each day;
On top of all you suffer I’ll have you
Being flayed alive at a lashing-post –
You would wish you were still-born from the start
As the soulless foetus of a calving cow.

 

Niall MacLeóid (Neil MacLeod)

 

Am Faigh a’ Ghàidhlig Bàs?

Tha mòran sluaigh am beachd an-diugh
Nach eil ar cànain slàn,
Nach fhad’ a chluinnear fuaim a guth,
Nach tèid i chaoidh nas fheàrr;
Gu bheil an aonta bh’ aic’ air ruith,
Nach tog i ceann gu bràth;
’S a dh’aindeoin buaidh MhicIlleDhuibh
Gum faigh a’ Ghàidhlig bàs.

Tha sìol nan sonn gan cur air chùl
’S am fearann ga chur fàs;
Tha fèidh is caoraich air gach stùc
Mun robh na laoich a’ tàmh;
Tha cinneach eil’ air teachd don ùir,
’S ag èirigh suas nan àit’,
Tha toirt am bòidean air gach dùil
Gum faigh a’ Ghàidhlig bàs.

An leig sinn eachdraidh chaomh ar tìr
A sgrìobadh de gach clàr,
’S a Ghàidhlig chòir a chur a dhìth
Le linn nach tuig a gnàths?
A’ chànain aosda, ghlòrmhor, bhinn,
A dhùisgeadh fuinn nam Bàrd,
Am fan sinn dìomhanach gun suim
Is daoi ga cur gu bàs?

Dùisg suas, a Ghàidhlig, ’s tog do ghuth,
Na biodh ort geilt no sgàig;
Tha ceudan mìle dìleas dhut
Nach dìobair thu sa bhlàr;
Cho fad’ ’s a shiùbhlas uillt le sruth,
’S a bhuaileas tuinn air tràigh,
Chan aontaich iad an cainnt no ’n cruth
Gun tèid do chur gu bàs.

A’ chainnt a dh’fhoillsich cliù nam Fiann,
’S an gaisge dian ’s gach càs;
Tha ’n euchdan iomraiteach bho chian
Ag àrach miann nan àl;
Na leòmhainn threun nach tug le fiamh
An cùlaibh riamh do nàmh,
Tha iomadh gleann, is cnoc, is sliabh,
A’ luaidh air gnìomh an làmh.

Chan eòl dhuinn ceàrn an ear no ’n iar,
No fonn mun iath an sàl,
Nach faighear cuid an sin dhen sìol
A’ leudachadh ’s a’ fàs,
Tha ’g altram suas, le dùrachd dhian,
Gach sgeulachd agus dàn,
A bhiodh an sinnsearan a’ snìomh
An tìr nan sliabh ’s nam bàgh.

Ach ’s geàrr a bhios an ùin’ a’ triall
Gum faic sinn, mar is àill,
A’ Ghàidhlig mhùirneach, mar ar miann,
An cathair inbhich, àird;
A’ sgaoileadh eòlais, tuigse, ’s ciall
Bho h-ionmhasan nach tràigh;
’S a’ taisbeanadh le neart a rian
Nach teid i ’n cian seo bàs.

’N sin togaidh i le buaidh a ceann,
Le aoibhneas nì i gàir;
A teudan gleusaidh i gu teann
Le cridhe taingeil, làn;
Gun cluinn Mac-talla feadh nan gleann
Gach doire ’s allt cur fàilt’,
’S an osag chiùin air bàrr nam beann
A’ giùlan fonn a dàin.

Ach buaidh is piseach air na laoich
Tha seasmhach air a sgàth,
Chaidh àrach ann an tìr an fhraoich,
Ge sgaoilt’ an-diugh an àl;
Ged chaidh an sgapadh air gach taobh,
Cha chaochail iad an gnàths;
Chan fhàs an eachdraidh lag le aois,
’S chan fhaigh a’ Ghàidhlig bàs.

 

Shall Gaelic Die?

Many people opine today
That our language isn’t well,
That not long will her voice be heard,
That there’s no recovery in sight;
That her lease is all but run,
That she’ll never raise her head;
And in spite of Blackie’s influence
That Gaelic is going to die.

The descendants of warriors are despised
And their land is being cleared;
There are sheep and deer on every peak
Round which the heroes dwelt;
Another race has entered the land,
Rising up in their place,
Swearing to every living soul
That Gaelic is going to die.

Will we let the sweet story of our land
Be scraped from every page,
And noble Gaelic ruined
By an age that doesn’t understand her ways?
The ancient glorious melodious tongue
Will we stand helpless, idly by,
While a churl puts her to death?

Wake up, Gaelic, raise your voice,
Have neither misgiving nor fear
There are hundreds of thousands loyal to you
Who won’t desert you on the field;
As long as burns cascading flow,
And waves pound on shore,
They’ll never consent in words or form
That you’ll be put to death.

The language that spread the Fianna’s fame
And their intense bravery in every case –
Long have their renowned deeds
Inspired each generation’s zeal;
The fierce lions that never turned
Their backs fearfully to the foe,
There’s many a glen and hill and peak
That speaks of their dextrous deeds.

We know no place in east or west,
Or land lapped by sea,
Where their descendants are not found
Burgeoning with new growth,
Who carry forward, with purpose keen,
All those stories and songs
That our ancestors used to weave
In the land of hills and bays.

But it will only be a short time now
Till we see, as is our wish,
Delightful Gaelic, as we desired,
On a high distinguished chair;
Disseminating knowledge, understanding, sense,
From her unebbing wealth,
Proclaiming in the strength of her ways
That she won’t die this long time.

Triumphantly she will raise her head
And with joy she will cry;
Eagerly she will tune her strings
With thankful brimming heart;
And Echo will hear throughout the glens
The greetings of grove and burn,
And the gentle breeze on the tops of the hills
Carrying the tune of her song.

But success and good luck to the men
Who stand up for her rights
In the land of heather they were raised,
Though scattered their generation today;
Though they wander in every land,
They will never change their ways;
Their history will not grow faint with age
And Gaelic will not die.

 

Calum MacLeóid (Calum MacLeod)

A’ Togail an t-Srùbain

Shuidh e aig bòrd taobh a-muigh taigh-seinnse ann an ceàrnag bhòidheach, shàmhach nach robh e air fhaicinn an latha roimhe. Nuair a thàinig an gille a-mach dh’iarr Daibhidh leann. Thàinig e a-mach an ceann mionaid le botal mòr le àrcan ann, ceangailte le uèir tro amhaich a’ bhotail. Rinn an t-àrcan pop beag fo làmh a’ ghille agus ghluais an uèir air ais gus an tàinig an t-àrcan gu tàmh ri taobh bil a’ bhotail.

Bha e airson sgrìobhadh. Lorg e na bhaga am bòrd-ceadachaidh a chleachd e ann an Glaschu agus air an taobh bhàn thòisich e a’ sgrìobhadh.

Chan eil fhios agam ciamar a thachair seo. Rinn mi mo dhìcheall gun a bhith a’ dèanamh cron air duine sam bith. Dìreach aon mhearachd bheag agus sin e. Chan fhaigh mi cuidhteas ciont.

Chan e sin buileach an fhìrinn shlàn ge-tà. Dh’fheuch mi cron a dhèanamh. Agus is mi bha soirbheachail. Cuideachd, cha bhi mi an-còmhnaidh a’smaointinn air. Uaireannan a-nis thèid agam air uairean a thìde a chaitheamh gun chuimhneachadh air. Tha seo air fàs bho mhionaidean agus tha mi an dòchas, an ceann greis, gun tèid agam air làithean air fad a chur seachad gun a bhith a’ cuimhneachadh air na thachair.

A’ leughadh thar na tha mi air a sgrìobhadh tha e soilleir nach eil mi deònach fhathast fiù ’s a bhith ga sgrìobhadh sìos. Nach neònach sin?

Corp.

Lorg mi corp. An uair sin …

An uair sin dh’fhannaich mi mar chealgair, oir ’s e sin a th’ unnam. Uairean, cha thric idir, ach uairean nar beatha thèid ceist no deuchainn no dùbhlan air choreigin a chur romhainn agus fàilligidh sinn.

Ach, fhathast, lorg mise an corp.

Sin e. Sin na lorg mi agus sin a thrèig mi. Sin a dh’fhàg mi fo bhròn, a sgoilt mi as an t-suidheachadh chofhurtail a bh’ agam, cofhurtail gu leòr, agus a thug orm tighinn an seo.

Lath-eigin, tha mi an dòchas, cuimhnichidh mi air na thachair. Bidh na beàrnan eadar smaointean mun chùis air a dhol am meud gus bliadhnaichean a lìonadh. Latha buidhe Bealtainn air choreigin.

Chan urrainn dhomh soirbheachadh a-nis, oir tha fios agam agus tha mi a’ creidsinn cuideachd, nach fhaigh mi lorg cho fad ’s is beò mi air a’ chorp a-rithist. Uill, cha lorgainn ann am Bratislabha e gu cinnteach!

Bha uair teans agam. Sin an latha, a’ mhadainn Dihaoine a lorg mi an corp. Nam bithinn an-diugh air ais anns an t-suidheachadh sin …

Chan eil mi air ionnsachadh bhon ùpraid is bhon sgudal a thàinig thugam as dèidh dhomh an corp a lorg agus a chall ach nach eil àite dhomh anns an t-saoghal sin. Cha tèid agam leigeil leis na feachdan ceart an rannsachadh aca a dhèanamh agus cha tèid agam air feitheamh airson fios fhaighinn bho na h-aithisgean is aithrisean agus a h-uile mac-mathar a’ leantail nan dleastanasan
proifeiseanta aca agus sin agad e.

Lorg mise an corp agus lorg mise na seangain agus lorg mise fìor aodann na coimhearsnachd agam agus an cultar agam mar a tha e san latha an-diugh. Agus chan eil mi gus gabhail ris.

Thill e am peann chun a’ bhùird agus thog e am botal a bha e air fhalamhachadh.

 

Gathering the Cockles

He sat at a table outside a bar in a beautiful, quiet area he hadn’t seen the day before. When the waiter came out David ordered a beer. He came back in a minute with a big bottle with a cork, connected by a wire through the neck of the bottle. The waiter’s hand made the cork give a little pop and the wire moved back until the cork stopped against the lip of the bottle.

He wanted to write. In his bag he found the boarding pass he had used in Glasgow and on the blank side he began to write.

I don’t know how this happened. I did my best not to harm anybody. Just one mistake and that was it. I can’t get rid of the guilt.

That’s not really the complete truth though. I tried to do harm. And I certainly succeeded. Also, I don’t think about it all the time. Sometimes now I can spend hours without thinking about it. That’s increased from minutes and I hope that, in a while, I’ll be able to spend entire days without reflecting on what happened.

Reading over what I’ve written it’s clear that I’m still not willing to write it down. Isn’t that strange?

A body.

I found a body. And then …

Then I fainted like a coward, because that’s what I am. Sometimes, not often at all, but sometimes in our lives we are presented with a question or a test or a challenge and we fail.

But still, I found the body.

That’s it. That’s what I found and that’s what I abandoned. That’s what made me depressed, that’s what tore me away from the comfortable situation I had, well, comfortable enough, and made me come here.

Someday, I hope, I will remember what happened. The gaps between thoughts about the incident will have grown to fill years. Some fine day or other.

I can’t succeed now, because I know and I believe that I won’t find the body again as long as I live. Well, I certainly won’t find it in Bratislava!

Once I had a chance. That was on the day I found the body, that Friday morning. If I was back in that situation today …

I haven’t learned anything from the uproar and the crap that I experienced after I found and lost the body except that there is no place for me in that world. I can’t let the authorities do their
investigation and I can’t just wait to get information from the reports and accounts with everybody simply carrying out their professional responsibilities and that’s it.

I found the body and I found the ants and I found the true face of my community and my culture as it is today.

And I’m not going to accept it.

He put the pen back down on the table and he picked up the bottle he had emptied.

 

The Highest Apple: An Anthology of Scottish Gaelic Literature, edited by Wilson McLeod and Michael Newton is published by Francis Boutle Publishing, priced £30

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