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06/06/2016

Tha litir bheag na seachdain aig Ruaraidh MacIllEathain a' bruidhinn air leabhar mu bhàrdachd Bhàideanaich a chaidh a' sgrìobhadh leis an Urr Tòmas Stinton. A letter for learners.

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Mon 6 Jun 2016 19:00

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An Litir Bheag 578

An t-seachdain sa chaidh, bha sinn a’ toirt sùil air dàn leis a’ bhàrd Uilleam Ruighe ’n Uidhe. Lorg mi an dàn anns an leabhar The Poetry of Badenoch leis an Urr. Tòmas Sinton. Chaidh fhoillseachadh ann an naoi ceud deug ’s a sia (1906).

            Nuair a nochd an leabhar, bha Sinton na mhinistear ann an Dubhras, taobh Loch Nis. Ach bhuineadh e do Bhàideanach. Rugadh is thogadh e ann an Obar Àrdair taobh Loch Lagain. Bha e aithnichte mar sgoilear Gàidhlig agus mar bhàrd. Sgrìobh e mu dheidhinn Loch Lagain agus dualchas nàdarrach na sgìre.

            ’S e fear de na h-eòin a b’ fheàrr a chòrd ris – an tàrmachan. Bu mhath leam earrannan a leughadh dhuibh à dàn a sgrìobh Sinton mun tàrmachan. Seo rann a tha a’ dèanamh tuairisgeul dhen eun agus cho comasach ’s a tha e a bhith a’ seasamh ri droch shìde:

 

Ged bhrùchdas na chathadh,

An sneachd le clach-mheallain,

Cha chuir e ort farann

No smàl air do shùil;

Air dìonadh bho chunnart,

Ri gean ’s fearas-chuideachd,

Geal-doimhneachd na cuithe

Gur dùnadh mun cuairt.

 

            Tha sin a’ togail dealbh, nach eil? ’S toigh leam an loidhne – Geal-doimhneachd na cuithe gur dùnadh mun cuairt.

            Tha an siathamh rann math cuideachd, oir tha am bàrd ag ainmeachadh lusan a bhiodh na tàrmachain ag ithe. Tha e ag ainmeachadh dearcagan-fithich – crowberries – agus oighreagan – cloudberries. Seo an rann:

Bu mhiann leat ’bhith criomadh

Feur-creachainn bu mhilis

 

Nan dearcagan-fithich

’S nan oighreagan maoth;

’S gun toir thu sgrìob ealamh

 

Air tòir nan lus ainneamh

’S na glacagan ’s aithn’ dhut

 

Air leacainn an fhraoich.

 

            Sgrìobh Sinton dàn cuideachd air a bheil ’N Coille Chnò Taobh Loch Lagain. Tha ‘coille chnò’ a’ ciallachadh ‘hazel wood’ – far am faighear cnothan-calltainn. Bha Sinton measail air bòidhchead nàdair. Uaireannan tha seann bhàrdachd feumail ann a bhith a’ toirt fiosrachadh dhuinn mun àrainneachd aig an àm a chaidh a sgrìobhadh. Tha coilltean brèagha fhathast timcheall Loch Lagain. Agus, far an robh Tòmas Sinton air a thogail, tha tèarmann nàdair nàiseanta ann. Tha mi an dùil gum bi coille chnò – agus tàrmachain – taobh Loch Lagain airson ùine mhòr fhathast.

The Little Letter 578

Last week, we were looking at a poem by the bard William Gow. I found the poem in the book The Poetry of Badenoch by the Rev. Thomas Sinton. It was published in 1906.

 

        When the book appeared, Sinton was a minister in Dores, on Loch Ness-side. But he belonged to Badenoch. He was born and raised in Aberarder beside Loch Laggan. He was known as a Gaelic scholar and poet. He wrote about Loch Laggan and the area’s natural heritage.

        One of his favourite birds was the ptarmigan. I’d like to read you extracts from a poem that Sinton wrote about the ptarmigan. Here is a verse that describes the bird and how capable it is of resisting bad weather:

Although snow and hail should blizzard forth,

It will not fret you or dim your eye;

Sheltered  from peril, in playful companionship,

The white depth of the snow-wreathe enclosing you on every side

That paints a picture, doesn’t it? I like the line – the white depth of the snow-wreathe enclosing you on every side.

        The sixth verse is also good, because the poet names plants that the ptarmigan would eat. He names dearcagan-fithich – crowberries – and oighreagan – cloudberries. Here is the verse:

 

You like to be nibbling

The sweet herbage on the stony summits,

Of the crowberries

And the gentle cloudberries;

And you take a nimble journey

In search of the rare plants

And the wee hollows you know

On the heathery hillside.

 

        Sinton also wrote a poem called In the Nut Wood by Loch Laggan. ‘Nut Wood’ means ‘hazel wood’ – where hazel nuts are obtained. Sinton loved the beauty of nature. Sometimes old poetry is useful in providing information about the environment at the time it was written. There are still beautiful woods around Loch Laggan. And, where Thomas Sinton was raised, there is a national nature reserve. I expect that a hazel wood – and ptarmigan – will exist on Loch Laggan-side for a long time yet.

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