An Dàn CD Lyrics

T10: Air Leathad Slèibhe (On a Hill-land Slope)

George Campbell Hay: Mary Ann Kennedy        

“the sun rising, my heart rising, and the dew rising from grass and tree”

I knew very little about Deòrsa Mac Iain Dheòrsa until Finlay and I were asked to take part in a project in Tarbert, Loch Fyne celebrating his centenary in 2015. He was still remembered in the village, and local GP, the late Neil MacDonald, spoke of trying to care for him in the most pragmatic of ways in Campbell Hay’s later years. A hugely under-rated poet, writing equally expressively in Gaelic, English and Scots, Mac Iain Dheòrsa lived a life of difficulty and great hardship in many ways. Perhaps it is that ‘being on the edge’ that gave him the ability to give himself up to this exquisite image of day-dawn. 

Michel Byrne, author of the definitive work on George Campbell Hay, said, “Based in Edinburgh for most of his life, Hay never tired of trying to capture in finely crafted verse 'perfect moments' experienced in the hills of the West Highlands. This poem, from Winter 1983, is one of the last drafts he ever wrote”.

If you’ve never experienced an early morning rise like this one, you’ve never lived. Maybe the trippiest Gaelic song I know.

T10: Air Leathad Slèibhe (On a Hill-land Slope)

Deòrsa Mac Iain Dheòrsa: Màiri Anna NicUalraig

“a’ ghrian ag èirigh, ’s mo chridh’ ag èirigh, ’s an dealt ag èirigh bho fheur ’s bho chrann”

Michel Byrne: Saoil an e sàr-bhàrd nàdair a bh' ann an Mac Iain Dheòrsa, thar gach rud eile? Fad a bheatha dh’fheuch e ri cur ann an rannan snasail ceòlmhor an t-sith ’s an sonas spioraid a bhiodh e faireachdainn air monaidhean na Gaidhealtachd an Iar (Cinntìre, gu h-araidh). Sgrìobh e a’ chiad rann den bhardachd seo ann an 1977, ach ’s ann goirid ro bhàs a thàinig an còrr chuige, sa gheamhradh 1983, am baile Dhùn Èideann.

Air leathad slèibhe ’s an Cèitean ann,
’n àm dùsgadh eunlaith len èigheach fann,
a’ ghrian ag èirigh, ’s mo chridh’ ag èirigh,
’s an dealt ag èirigh bho fheur ’s bho chrann.

B’ e ’n sòlas àraidh bhi ’n làthair shliabh,
is dreòs na fàire an-àird a’ triall,
eòin an fhàsaidh rin ceòl beag tràthail
air lòn ’s air àilean a-bhàn, ’s air riasg.

Tùis is boladh aig roid nan còs,
aig fraoch air cnocain mholach chòrr;
fonn ciùil aig osnaich chiùin na h-oiteig,
’s i dùsgadh mochthràth air monadh ’s sgòrr.

Guileag chrotaig, ’s i moch air sgèith
os cionn a’ mhonaidh, a’ dol na sèis;
cùirnean solais air chùirnein solais
an driùchd air fochann, air roid, air gèig. 

Air leathad slèibhe ’s an Cèitean air,
’n àm dùsgadh eunlaith len èigheach mear,
driùchd air gèig ann, air flùr, air feur ann,
’na smùid ag èirigh ri grèin san ear.

On a hill-land slope with Maytime come,
when birds are wakening and gently chirping,
the sun rising, my heart rising,
and the dew rising from grass and tree.

It would be a deep comfort to be among the hill-lands as the blaze of dawn was climbing the sky,
with the birds of the wilderness making small morning music down on meadow and plain and on moorgrass.

Incense and fragrance of bog-myrtle in small hollows, and from the heather on shaggy, enchanted knowes; a melody playing in the gentle sigh of the breeze that wakens early on moor and summit.

The cry of a plover, on morning flight,
above the moor, swelling into a chorus;
bead of light upon bead of light
on dew-covered grass and myrtle and branch.

On a hill-land slope with Maytime bloom,
when birds are wakening and brightly chirping;
dew on its branch and flower and grass, 

rising like smoke with the sun in the east.