In support of Free Roaming:Sacred Landscape: Scotland

~The Jewels of Alba~

~loch craignish~


Homeland poem

fur Dennis Canavan MSP wha defendit

the inalienable richt o Scottish folk

tae mak free progess ower the land



for Dennis Canavan MSP for his defence

of the inalienable right of Scotland’s people

to free, unfettered access to her lands


She birls tae her ain sang

ay haudit shair by birthin staur star

whit bairned the burnin hert o her.


She dances to her own song

held close by the birthing star

that fired her burning heart.

~ Castle Sween~

Turnin time pit oan her flesh,

glaciers chippit oot her glens,

saft rains timmed fu her lochs.


Shifting time formed her flesh,

glaciers carved her valleys,

soft rain filled up her lakes.

~loch fyne~

Whaur bens fauld ahint sherp nicht

an mune keeks oot fae watter,

yin giant alane stalks staury heichts


Where hills fold behind sharp night

and moon stares up from water,

one giant alone stalks starry heights

~Duncraigaig standing stones~


yit onybody kin walk the yirth

fur we are born tae her breist,

nae pooch nor micht will chynge it.


yet anyone can walk the earth

for we are born to her breast,

no pocket or might will change that.

~Shiel Island~

Nae mannie reart thae mountains,

conceivit yit yin blade ae gress;

it isnae we are cried oan.


No human raised those mountains,

nor yet conceived one blade of grass

and we are never called on




when she waants a shift o claes.

Mind oan that afore yeese try

tae thirl her tae fawse law


when she wants a change of dress.

Remember that before you would

subject her to false law

~Dunadd Fort – Inauguration Stone of the Dál Riata ~


wha filled oor bellies, slaked

oor thirst, wha gied us shelter,

set oor hauns an minds tae wark.


who filled our stomachs, slaked

our thirst, who gave us shelter,

set our hands and minds to work.

~Kilmory Knapp Chapel~


Wha weets oor bairnies heids,

wha is it lifts oor een an herts,

redd oot the grund ablow oor feet?


Who wets our children’s heads,

who is it lifts our eyes and heart,

spread the ground beneath our feet?

~Cross- Knapdale/Crinan~


Nae thievin wratch in foosty haw

connivin tae fence aff the warld;

hoo wee an feart they are wha think


No thieving wretch in dusty hall

conspiring to fence in the world;

how small and scared they are to think

~ Caerlaverock Castle~

a poke o siller wid even dunt

the yirth oan which we staun.

Like fitprint merk in saun or snaw


a bag of silver can impact on

the earth on which we stand.

Like footprint made in sand or snow.

~ Bridge over the Atlantic- Shiel~


when oor short stook is cut,

we are taen back intae the dirt,

oor hauf-meenut done. Think oan


when our short stalk is cut,

we are drawn back into the dirt,

our half-minute done. Think on

~Princess Margaret’s Tomb: Collegiate Church- Holywood~


doon burn, strath, brae an sea

as watter tummles tae braid firth,

we are aw ettled tae stravaig


down stream, plain, slope and sea

as water rushes to estuary,

we are all meant to roam.

~St Columba’s Cove~


birlin tae oor ain bit sang

while land itsell maks birth, braith,

bluid, bane, daith, an ay bides oan.

[Janet Paisley]


dancing to our own brief song

while the land owns birth, breath,

blood, bone, death, and will live on.

[translated by Janet Paisley]

Reproduced by permission of the author.

~Easdale – Slate Quarry~

Ceann Loch Aoineartpoem

Còmhlan bheanntan, stòiteachd bheanntan,

còrr-lios bheanntan fàsmhor,

cruinneachadh mhullaichean, thulaichean, shlèibhtean

tighinn sa bheucaich ghàbhaidh.


Kinloch Ainort

A company of mountains, an upthrust of mountains,

a great garth of growing mountains,

a concourse of summits, of knolls, of hills

coming on with a fearsome roaring.


Èirigh ghleanntan, choireachan ùdlaidh,

laighe sa bhùirich chràcaich;

sìneadh chluaineagan, shuaineagan srùthlach,

brìodal san dùbhlachd àrsaidh.


A rising of glens, of gloomy corries,

a lying down in the antlered bellowing;

a stretching of green nooks, of brook mazes,

prattling in the age-old mid-winter.


~St Columbas Cave – Lochead~


Eachraidh bheanntan, marcachd mhullaichean,

deann-ruith shruthanach càthair,

sleamhnachd leacannan, seangachd chreachainnean,

srannraich leacanach àrd-bheann.


A cavalry of mountains, horse-riding summits,

a streaming headlong haste of foam,

a slipperiness of smooth flat rocks, small-bellied bare summits,

flat-rock snoring of high mountains.


~ Kilmartin~


Onfhadh-chrios mhullaichean,

confhadh-shlios thulaichean,

monmhar luim thurraidean màrsail,

gorm-shliosan Mhosgaraidh,

stoirm-shliosan mosganach,

borb-bhiodan mhonaidhean àrda.

[Sorley MacLean]


A surge-belt of hill-tops,

impetuous thigh of peaks,

the murmuring bareness of marching turrets,

green flanks of Mosgary,

crumbling storm-flanks,

barbarous pinnacles of high moorlands.

[translated by Sorley MacLean]

From Caoir Gheal Leumraich / White Leaping Flame: collected poems in Gaelic with English translations, edited by Christopher Whyte and Emma Dymock (Edinburgh: Polygon, 2011)

Reproduced by kind permission of Carcanet Press.

~Twelve Apostles – Lincluden~

Copyright of all images : Shani Oates July 2017

~ by meanderingsofthemuse on July 31, 2017.

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