Gobha nan Glasan

Tha eòlas ann am buth gobha nan glasan

air Bread St o Theodore à Samos, o

Nineveh, uaithne toinnte Chonnecticut

’s Yale.  Bhithinn nam thàilleabhach ann,

m’eanchainn làn boghan ’s bràide, cìre ’s deilge,

bloca, amhaich ’s cagain: bhithinn

ag aisling air bithis no iuchair cnàimhnich,

gach rud meatail ’s mogal ’s beàrn. Pràis

air a dhealtraich le cròm, corragan

a’ lainnrich le stàilinn bleithte

fo chraiceann na deàrna.


Bhithinn nam leth-dhìa ann, le mìle sgealb grèine,

stòr fiaclan dhric san glòir umha ’s òir,

rang an-eagalach an dèidh rang.

Agus bhiodh eud ort ro chinnt an t-saoghail-sa.

Eagan ’s bìdean air an tomhais gu bloigh

mhillemeatairean. Cliog soilleir nuair a bhios

an iuchair ceart, ’s straon nuair a chaidh

a gearradh sa meileadh sa liamhaidh

tuilleadh ’s a’ chòir. Tuigse cho gun bhrìgh

sa tha peacadh. Deannagan a’ garbh

fo chraiceann a’ mheòir.


The Locksmith

There’s knowledge in the locksmith’s on Bread St

from Theodore of Samos, from Nineveh,

the worked consonance of Connecticut and Yale.

I’d be a journeyman there, my mind shanks,

collars, pins, throating, blocks, someone who dreams

of vices and skeleton keys, all metal

and case and bow, brass plated in nickel or chrome;

whose palms glitter with ground steel

inlaid beneath the skin.


I’d be a demigod there with my thousand splints of sun,

a hoard of dragon’s teeth: their glaw

of copper and gold, row on redoubtable

row, and you’d envy the certainties

of my world. The notches and bittings measured

to fractions of millimetres. The clear click

when the key is right. The slip when the metal is cut,

milled, polished beyond an inch of its life.

The utter irrelevance of sin. That steel

gristling through the skin.


Peter Mackay is the author of Gu Leòr / Galore (Acair 2015) and From Another Island (Clutag 2010). He is originally from the Isle of Lewis, and is a Lecturer in Literature at the University of St Andrews.


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