Below is one of my favourite poems in translation - a Scots owersettin of an original by Mary Oliver (the poem first appeared in the 1986 anthology Dream Work). I asked my Dad, poet Ian McFadyen, to translate this for me as a Christmas present. It's a poem I have come back to again and again when life just gets too much. It takes us - the reader - out of a moment in our pressured world, and transports into another moment – one vastly more real, more open, more understanding.
Delighted that this poem also inspired musicians Sally Simpson and Catriona Hawksworth to compose this stunning piece of music, recorded on their wonderful album DUO. You can listen below:
THE WILD GEESE
Ian McFadyen, Owerset frae Mary Oliver
Ye dinna hae tae be guid.
Ye needna walk a hunner miles
ower the desert on yer knees, repentin.
Ye maun jist let the saft craitur yer body is
lue whaur it maun lue.
Tell me yer wanhowp an yer wirry:
Ah’ll tell ye mine –
an atween-hauns the warld gaes on.
Atween-hauns the sun an the
clear wee chuckie-stanes o rain
are shiftin ower the launskips,
ower wide parks an deep wids,
ower hie bens and runnin waters.
Atween-hauns the wild geese,
hie i the clear blue lift,
are heidit hame again.
Whasomiver ye are,
nae matter whitwey lanely,
the warld offers itsel tae yer imaigination,
cries on ye lik the wild geese,
stere an dirlin – ower an ower
proclaimin yer place
i the faimily o things.
Mary Oliver reads the original below, via Brainpickings