Orwell on the Coire a’ Bhreacain
Sgrìobh Seòras Orwell 1984 air Eilean Diùra.
Chunnaic mi pìos mu a dhèidhinn air an tv o chionn greis.
Thachair tubaist bàta ris aig Coire a’ Bhreacain.
E fhèin, a mhac òg trì bliadhna dh’aois,
agus dithis dhaoine eile san eathar a bha seo
a chaidh a ghlacadh le sruthan-lìonaidh làidir
‘s a tharraing a dh’ionnsaigh a’ chuairt-slugain mhòir.
Bhris an cùl-mhotair dheth agus thuit e sa mhuir.
Ach rinn iad a’ chùis air iomramh gu creig leathann
far an deach an eathar fodha. Las iad teine an sin.
Ri h-ùine chaidh am faicinn le iasgairean giomaich.
Tha sinne dìreach às dèidh ar reifreann
air neo-eisimeileachd a chall.
Alba mar eathar air a dol fodha cha mhòr
ann an cuairt-shlugain Orwellach,
ann an Coire a’ Bhreacain de bhreugan.
Ach mar Orwell fhèin, cha deach ar bàthadh.
Ràinig sinn creag nas àirde na na garbh-thuinn.
Agus las sinn teine a tha a’ loisgeadh fhathast.
George Orwell wrote his novel 1984 on the Island of Jura.
I saw something about it on tv recently.
He was in a boating incident by Corryvreckan.
Himself, his three-year-old son, and two other men
in this small boat that got caught by strong tides
and was drawn towards the great whirlpool.
The outboard motor sheered off and dropped into the sea.
But they managed to row to a rocky outcrop
where their boat sank. There they lit a fire
which was eventually spotted by lobster fishermen.
We have just lost our referendum on independence.
Scotland like a boat sinking, as it were,
in an Orwellian whirlpool,
in a Corryvreckan of lies.
Like Orwell himself, though, we were not drowned,
but landed on a rock higher than the waves.
And we lit a fire which still burns strong.
This poem was first published in the literary quarterly Northwords Now (Issue 32, page 9).
The online version of the magazine is free to read here –
(NB Significant additional material on webpage not in actual mag, including English versions of Gaelic poems.)