Connections

Hallaig can be compared to Screapadal in that both are highly specific about place. Both touch on similar themes of a location and a way of life that is destroyed and overtaken by the destructive actions of man. In both poems the Highland Clearances have brought an end to the traditional way of life of MacLean’s ancestors.

But while Screapadal runs on with its theme of increasing destruction, ending with the threat of nuclear annihilation, in Hallaig the power of memory and love seem to overcome the destruction and keep alive a way of life, even if only in MacLean’s poem.

Shores too has a similar sense of place, using the physical landscape of the Highlands, Skye and the Western Isles to evoke particular feeling and mood.

All of the set of MacLean poems deal with time. As in I Gave You Immortality, with Hallaig he suggests that the power of his feelings (and his words) is a way to keep something alive even after it has gone - whether that is a love affair or a long gone community.

As with Shores, time is linked closely to nature - represented by the sea in Shores, by a deer in Hallaig. While in Shores time is huge and powerful and all that can be hoped is to withstand it, in Hallaig MacLean creates the active, violent image of shooting time dead to stop it.

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