I wrote this for Samhain, 2013. My last great-uncle was fading fast and I had lost a number of loved ones within fifteen years.
I was partly inspired also by “Moments of Pleasure” by Kate Bush (she had written the song for several people close to her, including her mother, whom she lost in quick succession); “just being alive, it can really hurt; these moments given are a gift from time. Let us all try to give these moments back, to those we love, to those who will survive…”
Tha mi a’ mothachadh nan corragan na gaoith’,I am feeling the fingers of the wind,
‘Ruith tron ghruag, na duilleagan seo marbh’, gan cuidhleadh,Running through the hair, these dead leaves, whirling them,
Brisg ‘san fhuigheall dhonn an t-Samhraidh ‘tha ‘nis ‘crìonadh;Brittle in the brown remnants of the Summer that is waning;
A’ Chailleach gun tig ‘n dèidh a’ chinntinn, ‘nis ‘s a-chaoidh…The Crone that shall come after the growth, now and for always…
Dith’s seanmhairean, dith’s seanairean a-chean’ air shiubhal,Two grandmothers, two grandfathers already passed,
Triùir am peathraichean is dith’s am bràithrean cuideachdThree of my great-aunts and two of my great-uncles also
Leoth’ air shiubhal, ‘s am bràthair deireannach na màtharPassed with them, and the last brother of my mother’s
Mo mhàthar ‘cheana ‘crìonadh, ‘n deireadh fhèin an ùin’…Mother already waning, the ending itself of their era…
Air chall o chionn trì bliadhna deug, sinnsearan,Lost over a space of thirteen years, elders,
Caraid gràdhach, dith’s chait is dith’s choin ar gràidh, thaA beloved friend, two each of beloved cats and dogs, all
h-Uil’ air falbh leis an tionndadh h-uile h-aimsir,Gone with the turning of all seasons,
Air sguabadh uainn, on bheath’ seo, leis a’ ghaoith an am’…Swept from us, from this life, by the winds of time…
Th’ an Oidhche-Shamhn’ an-seo is leumaidh cridh’ le dùil;Samhain Night is here and a heart shall leap with hope;
‘N oidhche air a’ chrìoch fhèin eadar ‘m bliadhna sheanThe night on the very border between the old year
Is am bliadhn’ ùr, an oidhch’ a fosglaidh dorasAnd the new year, the night which opens a doorway
Dhan t-Saoghal nam Marbh, an là-fèill nan luchd air shiubhal…To the World of the Dead, the feast-day of the parted ones…
Mar caoinidh bean-sìth, rànaidh ‘n starrag air geug lom,As the banshee wails, the hooded crow cries on the bare branch,
Itean dòmhail ‘n aghaidh na fuachd, tha mi ‘cheanaFeathers dense against the chill, I am already
‘Mothachadh ur làthair fad ‘s gun cuidheall a’ chuairtFeeling your presence while the everlasting
Shìor-mhaireannach, a’ tionndadh ‘s tionndadh gu sìor-bheò…Circle rolls, turning and turning eternally…
Na cothroman air chall a bh’agam leothasan,The missed opportunities that I had with them,
Muinntir dhaor nach coinnich mis’ ‘chaoidh ‘rith’st sa’ bheathaA precious people whom I shall never meet again in this
Seo, ‘bheil iad aig na dorsan sin gun fosgailLifetime, are they at those doors that shall open
A-nochd, a h-uil’ airson aon lath’ ath-aonachaidh…?Tonight, all for one day of reunion…?
A shluaigh air chall ar gràidh, am faic mi sibh a-nochd?Our beloved lost ones, will I see you tonight?
Ciamar ‘chluinneas mi sibh? ‘Bheil ur beannachd agam?How will I hear you? Are you proud of me?
‘Bheil mi air a dhèanamh na b’ thoigh leibh? ‘Nam ionndrainnHave I done what would please you? In my longing
Air ur son, tha sibh cho dlùth dhomh sa’ ghaoith am Fhoghair…For you, you are so near to me in the wind of Autumn…