Na Fir Chlis (Aurora Borealis): Port nan Ròn. Rody Gorman



Na Fir Chlis / Aurora Borealis is collection of Gaelic poems by Rody Gorman, inspired by Cape Farewell’s 4-week expedition across the Hebrides in 2011.

Port nan Ròn

Na bodaich a bh’ ann air feadh Eilean Mhuile,
Càite bhon t-saoghal a dh’fhalbh iad uile?

Dh’fhalbh iad uile-gu-lèir, nach bu duilich,
Thar a’ Chuain Mhòir mar a chaidh na Muilich

A bha eòlach fhèin anns gach cnoc is coire
Bho Ì Chaluim Chille gu Tobar Mhoire

‘S gach iomadach cruachan is creachainn
Air cùl-fraoin ann an dùthaich Shìol Eachainn

‘S na coilltean a bh’ ann bho thus air an gearadh
A chunnaic mi bhuam uair bhon bhearradh

Mar a chunnaic uair eile ris a’ mhaorach
Bodach leis fhèin an Eilean na h-Aon Chaorach

Is e mar gum biodh is e ga bhuain
A’ bruidhinn ris fhèin os cionn gàir a’ chuain

Is am baile bàn agus balbh buileach
Ri Port nan Ròn thall ud anns an Ros Mhuileach.

ir faillirinn illirinn uillirinn ò
ll iù ill eò illean is eò ill iù ò

Port nan Ròn tune

The old boys who used to be all over Mull,
Where on earth have they gone?

They’ve all gone, sad to say,
Across the Pond like all the Mullmen went

Who used to know every hill and corrie
From Iona to Tobermory

And every mountain-top and rocky slope
In the middle of nowhere in the Land of MacLean

And the woods that were there from the start cut down
I saw once from the ridge

As I saw another time gathering shellfish
An old boy on his own on One Sheep Island

Like he was as he gathered them
Talking to himself over the roar of the ocean

And the village all empty and silent
By Port nan Ròn in the Ross of Mull

Originally from Dublin, Rody Gorman now lives and works on the isle of Skye, where he was Writer-in-Residence at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. He has worked as writing fellow at University College Cork and the University of Manitoba and is editor of the annual Irish and Scottish Gaelic poetry anthology An Guth. He has published a wide range of poetry collections, the most recent being Beartan Briste. His highly original English ‘intertongueings’ provide insight not only to the nature of his poetry, but the nature of Gaelic interpretation.

Sound Poem

Loud noise, crust or hardness formed on the earth by the weather,

            shower that comes suddenly, mountain torrent,

            twisted or misshapen foot or ankle, ligature                                       Bailc

Sound made by birds in pursuit of the fry of fish                                   Briotal

Sound of distant music                                                                                    Caireal

Wrangling noise, elegy, wig, lurking-place                                                     Callaid

Purling noise, like the sound of worts fermenting,

            whisky in its first process of distillation, a stream

which is so small as to be almost covered by the heather,

bird, mole, the fundament                                                                   Caochan

The sound of burning                                                                                      Caoir

Noise, colour, hurry, pinch of snuff, gibe, mist                                               Deann

The noise of anything crackling or roasting,

            the flapping noise of a banner                                                 Dearrasan

Noise in sucking, sponge-like substance coughed up

by a newborn foal, the five-leaved shamrock,

supposed to grow out of this substance after it is buried                    Deocan

Sucking sound, as made by walking with water in the shoes                          Dìosgaidh-dàsgaidh

Noise as of fish frying in a pan, lechery, exudation                                         Drùis

Noise, the boiling of a pool where a cascade falls,

            state of requiring much attendance and service

without moving from your seat                                                           Easaraich

Noise in belly of horses when trotting                                                             Fead-ghoile

Noise of things breaking, clandestine private talk                                          Fise faise!

Grunting noise made by some persons when eating                                       Fosgar

Noise of steam escaping or of liquors fermenting,

            singing of a kettle, noise of frying, derisive cheering                    Gaoir

Noise of wild geese or swans                                                                          Garaicleis

The noise of anything falling, particularly of a carcase                                  Glag

Noise made by a cart on a rough road                                                           Glagadaich

Tingling noise in the ear (tinnitus), supposed to be a forerunner

            of death news,             if the noise is heard in the right ear

the news to be expected from the south, and vice versa,

            cement, bird-lime, glue                                                                        Glaodh

Sound of water falling by drops, clicking sound,

            applied to a shorter metallic sound than gliong                                  Gliog

The noise produced by the collision of soft substances                                   Glograich

Hollow sound as from an empty vessel,

the noise a bottle makes when being emptied                                      Glung

Peculiar complaining noise made by hens                                                      Gràdranaich

Noise, hue, siren (creature), uncombed hair, joke, love,

            rough-piled clothing, ripple on the surface of the water,

            head having the hair standing on end                                                 Greann

Sound of footsteps with wet feet                                                                       Lapan

Sudden noise                                                                                                   Lasgar

Deep toned sound, as of a person in a cave                                                   Mòthar

Noise of the waves, raging hunger, lung                                                        Onfhadh

Noise like that of a beetle                                                                                Priompallan

Sound made by cattle when fighting, roar

that a cow gives when gored by another                                             Raoic

Harsh, grating discordant noise, tedious highway                                         Ràsan

Sizzling sound, as of flesh being fried                                                             Ràstal

Noise of the shrouds of a ship in a storm                                                       Roithlich

Sound of a blow, baldness of the head, bumper

            of any spirituous liquor taken before breakfast                                  Sgailc

The sound of loose stones falling along a steep and rocky hillside                 Sgàirneach

Disagreeable sound, bawler, shrill-voiced fellow                                           Sgreadan

Noise of hard labour                                                                                       Slacaireachd

The crashing noise made by the breaking of bones                                        Smùiseirnich

Noise of water when meat is boiling in it                                                        Sod

Noise, as of a door shutting                                                                            Splad

Sharp sound produced by drawing the bulb of the middle finger

            quickly and firmly across the bulb of the thumb                                 Spliongag

Noise of scratching on boards, subdued rattling noise,

such as is made by a stone wall

            about to fall, rats, mice &c in a hole, box &c                                      Sporghail

Loud, sudden sound, noise, killing, life                                                           Spreadhadh

Noise of cloth in the act of tearing,

noise made by a scythe in the process of mowing                               Srac

Noise as the tread of horses’ feet, brain-swimming from liquor,

            rank thick grass growing in freshwater lochs                                                Stàirn

One of the noises of the sea                                                                             Staplaich

Soft, ghostly sound or movement in the dark                                                  Taislich

Noise at night (premonitory)                                                                           Taradh

The noise of the sea in a cave                                                                         Teannair


Extract from Suibhne

when Sweeney heard the clamourbuzz of the communityhost and fondletumult of the exaltgreat hostcrowd he tookrose out of the sacredscionbordertree into the showerabundant trancenebulae of the firmaments above the rooftops of every place, above the ridgepolerooftrees of every quarterland-domain. for a melancholylong moonspacetime he went throughout Ireland, transient-visiting and rush-searching in rock-hard sodshelterspellclefts and in dronebushthickets of tall ivy mast-trees and in kyle-narrow covehollows of islandshorecastletesticlestone from estuaryspit to estuaryspit and from sweet cliffgablepeak to sweet cliffgablepeak and from smoke-cloudglenhollow to smoke-cloudglenhollow till he came to the eternally delightbeautiful Glenbalkan. there the grazingnakedwoodlunatics of Ireland would hauntgo after a fullsafe year of nakedwoodlunacy for it is is a place of eternal delight for nakedwoodloonies.


Suibhne and other poems

By Rody Gorman

21 June 2012

An Tobar, Tobermory Arts
Argyll Terrace, Tobermory,
PA75 6PB, Isle of Mull
Tel: 01688 302211

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