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> Issue 59 > Page 64 - Praise & Dispraise of the Rear & the Shore: Two Gaelic Poems from the Margarees

Page 64 - Praise & Dispraise of the Rear & the Shore: Two Gaelic Poems from the Margarees

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1992/1/1 (403 reads)

4 Chan 'eil sinne 'n so gun coin Ni tamh air chrainn nam miaragan, Is ged nach 'eil sud ainmeil dhaibh, Tha ceol neo-ghann 's a' bhial aca, O 'n uchd gu 'n tart thig seirm ro-bhlasd', 'S cha chuir e mach an cliathaichean Ged a chuireadh iad ri dan Air maduinn failt' 's a' chiar ghlomadh. 5 A bharrachd air na thuirt mi 'n drasd Tha eoin an t-sail' mu 'n cuairt againn; Is ged nach 'eil an guth cho dath, Tha 'n canain ac' neo-thuathalach; Tha sgoil-mhara aig an al Nach tugadh barr an Cluaidh oirre. Is nuair a theid iad air an t-snamh, Gur mear air bharr nan stuadhan iad. 6 Ma gheibh thu biadh air bharr nan slatan, Acras, cha b' e dhioladh e, Is ged a bhiodh e mills, blasd' Cha chuir e casg air miananaich; 'S ann bhios an reachd am por nan cnoc A' fas fo dhealt nam fiath-bhoinnean O 'n t-siol tha steach fo fhaobhar chlach, 'S a thig am mach gun chiaran air. 7 Ach fhir a theid gu ciil nam beann, 'S a bhios an geall air iongnaidhean Mar tha coltach a bhith ann, Ma 's fior 'san am na dh' innsear dhuinn, Chi thu coille ghoirid, cham, Mu 'n cuairt air sgall de chlireadh ann, 'S ma chaidh a threabhadh leis a' chrann, Chan 'eil am fonn 'g a innseadh dhuinn. Translation: Praise of the Shore and Dispraise of the Rear Answer to Donald MacDonald by Duncan MacLellan 1 Altho' you termed them "a rabble of fisherfolk," the inhabi? tants here are most handsome from head to foot, manly, strong and vigourous. They are knowledgeable on sea and land, polite, charming and well disposed. Since you found fault with them in your song • who asked your opinion anyway? 8 Ma 's aithreach leatsa tigh'nn a nail Gu slios neo-ghann an iosail so. Is mur a d' fhuair thu solas ann, Tha gaoid ro-throm 'nad inntinn-sa; Chunnaic thu na daoine trang, Gu call dhaibh cha bhi 'n dichioll sin. Is bidh na sporain aca trom Gach uair bhios bonn a dhith orra. 9 Ma tha 'n t-aite so cho truagh, 'S an aird-a-tuath cho direach air, 'S beag tha chiiram dhuinn bhith fuar, Oir 's pailt an gual 'san tir againn; Is ged tha cuid de 'n aonach ruadh, Cha chathadh cuain rinn sgaoileadh air. Is ann a rinn e caochladh tuair An deidh a' bhuain a chaoineachadh. 10 Thoir mo shoraidh dh' ionns' a' bhaird A dhiiisg an drasd gu briathran mi; Tha mi 'n dochas anns an Agh Nach cuir pairt dhiubh miothlachd air; Ged a theireadh e ri each Nach d' rinn mi dan, ged dh' fhiach mi ris. Is e mo dhiirachd e bhith slan, 'S e thigh'nn gu m' fhardaich, 's iasgair mi. 2 If you gave such love to the Rear, in my opinion, it is not jus? tified. When stifling winter comes, the flowers will wither, for all their beauty. Far better to be beside the sea, watching the ebb and flow than to be observing dense foliage among the winding meadows. 3 And if that lofty place be so grassy, fertile and well- watered • what a pity that others are unaware that crops grow so abundantly there. However, what I observed growing was in good part rushes, late ripening berries and rose-hips (or thorns, or cat-tails). 4 We here do not lack birds which dwell in the branching trees and altho' this is not so remarkable, they make plenty music. From well tuned chests comes a most pleasant melody, effort? less, tho' they set to singing on a fine morning at dawn. 5 Over and above what I have now said, seabirds are also around us and tho' their sound is less sweet, their voices are not awkward. Their young enjoy a marine education that the Clyde cannot surpass and when they start swimming, they are lively on the crests of the waves. 6 If you do find food on the tips of branches, it will not dispel hunger: tho' it be sweet and tasty, it will not stop your yawn? ing. Instead, nourishment of field crops grows under the dew of calm rains and comes from the seed which lies under sharp stones and emerges without blemish. 7 But you who travel beyond the mountains seeking out mar? vels which appear to be there if all we hear at the moment be true: you will see a stunted, crooked forest surrounding a bald clearing there and if it was ever turned with a plough • the ground does not proclaim it. 8 If you regret coming over here to this fertile, level slope and if you found no joy here • there is a serious fault in your own mind: did you not see those industrious people whose labour will not be unrewarded • their purses will be heavy any time they need a coin. 9 If this place is so poor with the north (wind) directiy striking it • we don't worry much about being cold,, for coal is so boun? tiful here. And altho' some of the fields appear rusty, that is not caused by spreading spindrift: they merely changed colour once the harvest was dried. 'Welcome to your home azuaij from home! These signs invite you to come make new friends and experience a unique way to enjoy Cape Breton's famed hospitality. For more information contact: Tourism Distribution Centre P.O. Box 1448 Sydney, N. S. B1P6R7 1-800-565-9464 if 'ienvenue cfiez nous! Aux etablissements arborant ces enseignes, vous trouverez des holes chaleureux qui vous feront decouvrir rhospitaiite iegendaire du Cap-Breton. Pourde plus amples renseignements, s'addresserau: Centre de distribution des informations touristiques C.P. 1448, Sydney, (N.??.) B1P6R7 A program of: Une Initiative de: 1 -800-565-9464 Enterprise Societe Cape Breton d'expansion Corporation du Cap-Breton 10 Bring my greetings to the poet who now occasioned my words • I hope to Goodness that some of them will not displease him. Though he might say to others that I failed to fashion a song tho' I attempted it • I wish him good health and I invite him to my fisherman's home! Our thanks to Eff le MacCorquodale Rankin, Mabou, for her translation of the complete poems, taken from Smeo? rach nan Cnoc 's nan Gleann (Ttie Songster of the Hills and the Glens) compiled by Bernard Gillis and the Rev. Dr. P. J. Nicholson, edited by Hector l/lacDougall. HIGH? LAND SETTLER car be ordered directly from the pub? lisher, Breton Books (a division of Cape Breton's Maga? zine), Wreck Cove, Nova Scotia BOC 1 HO (see pages 72 and 73). Price $14.25 includes GST and postage in Cana? da (foreign orders: add $1.50 postage per book). BATTERED WOMEN AND YOUR CHILDREN If you need help: 539-2945 TRANSITION HOUSE
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