Catriona Lexy Campbell - Judge's Comments

 

I was delighted to be asked to judge this year's Gaelic poetry competition and the exceptional quality of so many of the entries made it all the more exciting. I would like to highly commend Falach Fead - a poignant, sardonic piece that looks at the absence of intimacy even in our closest moments. With sharp imagery and striking honesty, the writer paints a bold picture of lonely and disaffected modern love. This piece is a great example of the power of the Gaelic language to capture the contemporary experience as well as the traditional.

 

When it came to choosing a winner, there were several pieces that caught my attention but none more so than Clann na Coille. A strange, other-worldly parable about the children of the forest and the sad fate that befalls them while the nearby town looks away. Is it a metaphor for the destruction of nature...or maybe it's about the loss of innocence...or is it about the end of tribal cultures? Is it simply a beautiful gothic fairytale? The strength of Clann na Coille lies in the fact that it could be any of these things. It inspires one to question and to imagine, and it continues to haunt the reader with its dark romanticism long after it is done. 

 

 

 

 

Scottish Gaelic Prize Winner

Deborah Moffatt

 

Clann na Coille

 

Tha clann na coille nan cadal,

nan laighe dlùth ri chèile air an talamh

fo fhasgadh meanglanan iosal nan giuthas,

mar chuileanan sionnaich ann an saobhaidh,

am falach anns a’ choille.

 

Tha màthair clann na coille

na laighe marbh ann am bothag,

am mac mu dheireadh aice ri a taobh

gun deò, an dà chorp ceangailte fhathast,

tàcharanan clann na coille.

 

Tha athair clann na coill

air falbh leis na saighdearan,

lasraichean nan gunnaichean mòra

a’ ruadhachadh an speura

àrd os cionn na coille.

 

Tha sùilean clann na coille

faiceallach, seachantach, biorach.

Tha cuilg giuthais anns an fhalt aca

’s anns an lèintean tha còinneach thais

à ùrlar bog na coille.

 

Tha am ministear anns a’ bhaile

ag earalachadh air na daoine chòir

gun shealltain às an dèidh, ’s cha sheall,

air eagal is gum faic iad deatach na tìre

ag èirigh às a’ choille.  

 

 

 

 

Scottish Gaelic Highly Commended

Marcas Mac Tuairneir

 

Falach-fead

 

Choimhead mi do làmh,

A’ gluasad bhuam,

Far an do laigh mi na do leabaidh.

 

Camhanach na madainn,

A’ briseadh ro mo shùilean

Is thusa, ga sireadh air a’ bhòrd-leaba,

 

Far an do dh’fhalaich mi e,

Ann an drathair.

Far nach faigheadh tu e,

Am measg nan drathais

Is nan stocainnean.

 

Choimhead mi do chorragan,

Ga riaghailteachadh,

Is na criomagan ann an loidhne.

 

Cabhagach, ga roiligeadh

Ann am pàipear faoin

Is thusa, ri seangan nad bhriogais.

 

Falach-fead gun fhealla-dhà,

Bha a’ chùis seo trom is

Farmad a’ fàs annam,

Gun robh do rù-rà

Son an stuth sin, seach mo làmh-sa.

 

English translation 

 

Hide-and-seek


I watched your hand,

Moving from me,

Where I lay in your bed.

 

The dawn of morning,

Breaking before my eyes

And you, searching for it in the nightstand,

 

Where I hid it,

In a drawer.

Where you wouldn’t find it,

Between your boxers

And your socks.

 

I watched your fingers,

Arranging it

With the specks in a line.

 

Rushing, rolling it

In a lonely paper

And you, jittering in your pyjamas.

 

Hide and seek without fun and games,

The matter was grave and

Envy growing in me,

As your groping was for

That stuff and not my hand.