Scottish Poetry Selection
- Arran

Snow-covered Arran Hills rising behind Great Cumbrae
Snow-covered Arran Hills rising behind Great Cumbrae

The island of Arran in the Firth of Clyde is often decribed as "Scotland in miniature" with its coastline, mountains, rivers and lochs. This poem covers just about every aspect of this enchanted island (except maybe its golf courses!) and was originally written by an anonymous author in Irish Gaelic and was translated by Kenneth Jackson.


Arran of the many stags,
the sea reaches to its shoulder;
island where companies are fed,
ridges whereon blue spears are reddened.

Wanton deer upon its peaks,
Mellow blaeberries on its heaths,
cold water in its streams,
mast upon its brown oaks.

Hunting dogs there, and hounds,
blackberries and sloes of the dark blackthorn,
dense thorn-bushes in its woods,
stags astray among its oak-groves.

Gathering of purple lichen on its rocks,
grass without blemish on its slopes;
over its fair shapely crags
gambolling of dappled fawns leaping.

Smooth is its lowland, fat are its swine,
pleasant its fields, a tale to be believed;
its nuts on the boughs of its hazel-wood,
sailing of long galleys past it.

It is delightful when fine weather comes,
trout under the banks of its streams,
seagulls answer each other round its white cliff;
delightful at all times is Arran.

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