Martin MacIntyre

An acclaimed author, bàrd and storyteller, Màrtainn Mac an t-Saoir / Martin MacIntyre has worked across these genres for many years now. In 2003, his collection of short stories Ath-Aithne (Re-acquaintance) won the Saltire Society First Book Award. Cala Bendita ’s a Bheannachdan (Cala Bendita and its Blessings), his latest collection, was shortlisted for both the Donald Meek Award and the Saltire Literary Book of The Year in 2014. His early poetry was published in Let Me Dance With Your Shadow in 2006, and in 2007 he was crowned Bard by An Comunn Gàidhealach. Since 2010, he has been an Edinburgh Shore Poet. He is currently working on a novel and collection of poetry. His longstanding interest in Gaelic songs and singing was further developed during his time working on the Tobar an Dualchais / Kist o Riches project (1998-2003).

Events

Border Crossings »

Reading: Martin MacIntyre, Owen Lowery

Thu 8 March | 14:15 - 15:15 | £4.50/£3.50 | The Town Hall, Queens Gardens, Supper Room

Poem

Dùthchas Beò

Too often parodied
as an over-tartaned extravaganza
of pitch-imperfect parrots ‘still-pissed from the night pefore’
the epitome of twee
the nadir of naff
the apotheosis of parochialism
with seditious scoring: ‘Only 85 for Music? Eh? How come? Ciamar?’

Ach an seo leam fhìn,
mìltean is bliadhnaichean air falbh
on talla luma-làn ud,
san do sheinn thusa gu dùrachdach
– sa bheil thu a’ seinn an-dràsta air an rèidio –
bho bhonn cridhe a’ bhoireannaich ghoirt
a b’ òg a rinn a h-aomadh
“Fear an Leadain Thlàith”,
curidh tu stad orm,
bheir thu orm èisteachd
mar a thug air na h-uile a bha an làthair,
is tha do roghainn, air sgàth deagh bheusan,
gun an rann mu a leatrom a ghabhail
– measg chaileagan fo ochd bliadhn’ deug –
nas truime buileach leam
air dhòigheigin a’ giùlan cumhachd a’ bharrachd
a-nist gur e màthair do thriùir a th’ annad fhèin.

Taing dhan Àgh, smaoinichidh mi – chan e, fairichidh mi.
Taing dhan Àgh airson a’ Mhòid.

Màrtainn Mac an t- Saoir

 

Living Tradition

Too often parodied
as an over-tartaned extravaganza
of pitch-imperfect parrots ‘still-pissed from the night pefore’
the epitome of twee
the nadir of naff
the apotheosis of parochialism
with seditious scoring: ‘Only 85 for Music? Eh? How come? Ciamar?’

But here alone in my kitchen
miles and years away
from that packed hall,
in which you sang so strongly
– in which you are now singing on the radio –
from the heart of the torn woman
who was ensnared at a young age by
“Fear an Leadain Thlàith” 
“The Lad of the Lovely Hair”
you arrest me, render me able
only to stop and listen
as you did all present then,
your chaste choice to omit the verse on her pregnancy
– in an under-eighteens’ competition –
all the more poignant
carrying more transformative power, now somehow
that you are a mother of three.

Thank God for the Mod, I think, no, thank God for the Mod, I feel.

Martin MacIntyre

First published on Scotia Extremis (2016)