Hello, Stranger Poems

Yellow Flowers by Ceitidh Campbell

20 September 2021

Dumfries and Galloway’s Gaelic heritage is well documented and it is a pleasure to host Ceitidh Campbell here, one of Scotland’s finest young Gaelic poets. She gained an honours degree in Scottish Ethnology and Celtic Studies with a focus on Gaelic song and poetry and its historic significance. She achieved 3rd place in the Oran Ùr do Mhuile song writing competition in 2008 and as part of Fèisean na Gaidheal’s An Taigh Oran project in 2012 produced a series of new songs with other Gaelic writers. In 2018 she won the Gold Medal at the Royal National Mòd and regularly performs both traditional songs and her own work. In 2020 she was appointed a ‘Poetry Ambassador’ by the Scottish Poetry Library with a remit to commission new Gaelic poetry. A Gaelic teacher at Millburn Academy in Inverness she is currently developing work for her first collection.

Here she is reading Fluraichean Buidhe, or Yellow Flowers, a poignant poem about loss, remembrance and heritage.

Fluraichean Buidhe

Bho thùs tha i air d’ aidhneachadh –

d’ainm daonnan air blàs a bilean.

Bidh a sùilean làn de d’ iomhaigh ghlàn,

dealbhan gad thaisbeanadh dhi.

B’e an turas seo a’ chiad athais

tadhal ort is an eilean o chionn fhada.

Glamaig chumhachdail gun atharrachadh

le ceò a’ cumail an siaban bhon flathanas.

Rubha na h-aiseig a’ carraig dhan mhuir fharsaing

fo dhubhar bataraidh na mhaighdinn mhara.

Ach bha na flùraichean buidhe lamaisteach, calaisteach,

duilleagan grèiste a’ maireadh na thachair.

Mar thaibhsear, a b’ eòlach air d’ àite tàimh

thàinig buatham brosnachail foimhpe.

Gun ghluasad, theann i ris a’ chloich

le tulchuis na h-òige is chuir i oirr’ pògag gràidh.

“Tha gach chùis ceart, na gabh dragh,

gheibh thu flùraichean nas fheàrr a Ghanga.”

Yellow Flowers

From the beginning she knew you –

lips always with your name upon them.

Her eyes full of your image, clear

in pictures depicting who you are to her.

This journey was the first opportunity

to visit you and the island in an age.

Glamaig, powerful and unchanged,

mist separating the sea-foam from the heavens.

The ferry point jutting into the wide sea

in the shadow of the mermaid’s battery.

But we found yellow flowers, battered and wind-swept,

embroidered leaves reflecting what befell them.

Like a seer aware of your resting place

an inspired thought suddenly struck her.

Without prompting, she approached the stone

with the confidence of youth and placed a small loving kiss on it.

“Don’t worry, everything is as it should be,

you’ll get better flowers, Ganga.

The series is curated by Hugh McMillan, poet and writer, Ambassador for the Scottish Poetry Library in 2020 and Editor of its anthology ‘Best Scottish Poems’ for 2021.