Fàilte! (Welcome!)

Fàilte! (Welcome!)
This blog is the result of my ongoing research into the people, places and events that have shaped the Western Isles of Scotland and, in particular, the 'Siamese-twins' of Harris and Lewis.
My interest stems from the fact that my Grandfather was a Stornowegian and, until about four years ago, that was the sum total of my knowledge, both of him and of the land of his birth.
I cannot guarantee the accuracy of everything that I have written (not least because parts are, perhaps, pioneering) but I have done my best to check for any errors.
My family mainly lived along the shore of the Sound of Harris, from An-t-Ob and Srannda to Roghadal, but one family 'moved' to Direcleit in the Baighs...

©Copyright 2011 Peter Kerr All rights reserved

Friday, 16 July 2010

seallaidh-tìre (landscape - a poem, perhaps)

...ice-scoured tongue-scape rising from the sea. Each Gaelic-gifted name-place, of hill, of river, of beach, of bay, of headland, of pass, of time, of space smooth-softened into place. Feet treading paths populated by ghosts, spirits of the land guiding exploration. Low, broad walls whose turf-topped tracks bounded by mortar-less concentric bands of stone stubbornly refuse to fall. Roofless, lifeless testament of attempted genocide.
See? Where? Sea-ware. Kelp-skelped. Ruin.
Children of the Norse clinker-carried upon the sea, cast adrift to cast line, net and pot for salt-seasoned harvest, many themselves cast into the boiling sea. Husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, nephews lie scattered round the shore. Sacrificial homage paid in exacting price.
Fisher, Fissure, Craic, Crack.
Gneiss, niece of granite, rocks of ages, rocks of eons, rocks of cradles. Peat, moss, heather, moor, run the rig no more. Lazily the rippled land sprouts forth small yielding. Blight. Famine. Laud the land. In ports, import of grain, sustain, but emigration's this season's crop. Seven-hundred souls. A fair return? (no return).
Pest-i-cide, gen-o-cide, you-de-cide. Clear a path. Clear a way. Clear away. Clearance
Clock chimes the quarter
Quarter the clans
Cull them.
Clearance. Clear rants. Clear rats. Like vermin.
Factor in the Factor. Blame is absent. Landlord is absent. Nature abhors a vacuum.
Factor in greed. Blame apportioned. Lord it over the landless. Nature has no dominium.
till the land
reveals bones long-buried.
cleaving, displacing,
overturning communities.
Improvement. Impoverishment. Chart the ice-scoured tongue-scape...

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done, interesting 'discourse' on aspects of Hebridean life