Coitcheann – Common Ground

Lorg Ghlaschu – In Search of the Dear Green Place, is a SNH commission for Mòd Ghlaschu 2019 celebrating Glasgow’s people, places and stories through her Gaelic and other placenames. Here’s a poem by Mary Ann Kennedy, inspired by Cathkin Braes – the highest point within the city boundaries, giving an unrivalled view of the city and all her dear green places. Cathkin comes from Coitcheann – Common Ground.

Coitcheann (Màiri Anna NicUalraig)

Gach cluain, gach blàr,
Gach ainm, gach àit’

Gach bileag, gach blàth,
Gach bunaid, gach bàrr

Gach slighe, gach sràid,
Gach carraig, gach càrn

Gach fàrsan, gach rath’d
Gach ruigheachd, gach fàilt’

Mum choinneamh an clàr
Mum chuairt an t-àite gràidh
Glacan gorm mhic is mhàthar naoimh
Gnàth bhaile nan daoin’

Gach nighean, gach pàisd
Gach seanair, gach àl

Gach cathadh, gach càs
Gach sabaid, gach fàth

Gach beatha, gach bàs
Gach àmhghar, gach bàigh

Gach dachaigh, gach blàths
Gach cagailt, gach tàmh

Mum choinneamh an clàr
Mum chuairt an t-àite gràidh
Glacan gorm mhic is mhàthar naoimh
Gnàth bhaile nan daoin’

Gach darach, gach bàrc,
Gach aiseag, gach ràmh

Gach lùb gu sàl,
Gach camus, gach làn

Gach achadh, gach pàirc,
Gach àros, gach gàrd

Gach isean, gu h-àrd
Gach beathach, gach làr

Found (Donald MacLean)

From the dim beginning
My call has been on you
Drawing you to me
From Glengarrisdale and Mangersta
Krakow and Mumbai
Legions quietly gathering
As Callanish and DunAdd recede

Below your bones
You heard my soft whisper
And packed your bags
Of yesterday and tomorrow
With your dreams
And your brokenness

From these high fields
I watched you
Shoal in my rivers
Flock in my skies
March through my canyoned streets
And writhe on my riddled stones

So now you are here
Every one of you
Seedlings
Reaching skywards
Through the rain
Towards the sun
In this dear green place

Children of my longing
My earth, your cradle
Your lives, my heartbeat
Your struggles and laughter, my timeless song
This place
Our common ground

Gach luinneag, gach dàn,
Gach caithream, gach rann

Gach gàire, gach ràn,
Gach cagair, gach slàn

Gach gnìomh, gach ceàird,
Gach obair, gach àgh

Gach tarraing dhen àrc,
Gach suigeart, deoch slàint’

Mum choinneamh an clàr
Mum chuairt an t-àite gràidh
Glacan gorm mhic is mhathar naoimh
Gnàth bhaile nan daoin’

Gach eun nach d’ ràinig fàire
Gun soirbhich Glaschu
Gach glag nach d’ sheinn an àirde
Gun soirbhich Glaschu
Gach bradan nach d’ rainig sruth le fàinne
Gun soirbhich Glaschu
Gach crann nach d’ fhàs
Gun soirbhich Glaschu

Common Ground

Each meadow, each field,
Each name, each place

Each blade, each blossom,
Each root, each fruit

Each way, each street,
Each rock, each cairn

Each journey, each road,
Each arrival, each welcome

Before me the chart
Around me the dear place
Green hollow of mother and son
Perpetual city of the people

Each lass, each child,
Each elder, each generation

Each battle, each privation,
Each fight, each cause

Each life, each death,
Each pain, each joy

Each home, each warmth,
Each hearth, each rest

Before me the chart
Around me the dear place
Green hollow of mother and son
Perpetual city of the people

Each oak-ship, each barge,
Each ferry, each oar

Each twining to ocean,
Each riverbend, each tide

Each field, each park,
Each homestead, each enclosure

Each chick, on high
Each beast, each terrain

Each song, each poem,
Each rejoicing, each verse

Each laughter, each cry,
Each whisper, each farewell

Each deed, each trade,
Each effort, each joy

Each drawing of the cork,
Each cheer in drinking a health

Before me the plan
Around me the dear place,
Green hollow of the holy pair
Perpetual city of the people

Each bird that never reached horizon,
Let Glasgow Flourish,
Each bell that never raised its song,
Let Glasgow Flourish,
Each salmon that never swam with ring to the river
Let Glasgow Flourish
Each tree that never grew
Let Glasgow Flourish

 

More at Mary Ann Kennedy here.

Comments (1)

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  1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

    As a first generation keelie of a gaelic speaking mother and four Gaelic speaking grandparents I was of course delighted by this -brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye! Thank you.

    Pedantic point – I have always thought that Springburn Park is the highest point within the city boundary, but that does not detract from the pieces.

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