Island of Barra — 1955

National Library of Scotland

Ten-minute 1955 silent film, shot on the Scottish island of Barra

The history of Barra bears some study too — particularly with regard to the hardships the islanders faced in the past (this was mainly due to the actions of those who had taken ownership of the island). The archaeology is also of great interest.

A thousand hearts swelling and sinking — Scottish Gaelic poem

Scottish Gaelic poem by Derick Thomson

Air iomall an talamh-àitich, eadar dhà sholas,
tha a’ churracag a’ ruith ʼs a’ stad, ʼs a’ ruith ʼs a’ stad,
is cobhar bàn a broillich, mar rionnag an fheasgair,
ga lorg ʼs ga chall aig mo shùilean,
is tùis an t-samhraidh
ga lorg ʼs ga chall aig mo chuinnlean,
is fras-mhullach tonn an t-sonais
ga lorg ʼs ga chall aig mo chuimhne.

Bàgh Phabail fodham, is baile Phabail air fàire,
sluaisreadh siorraidh a’ chuain, a lorg ʼs an eag nan sgeir,
is fo ghainmhich a’ gheodha,
gluasad bithbhuan a’ bhaile, am bàs ʼs an ùrtan,
an ùrnaigh ʼs an t-suirghe, is mile cridhe
ag at ʼs a’ seacadh, is ann an seo
tha a’ churracag a’ ruith ʼs a’ stad, ʼs a’ ruith ʼs a’ stad.

*

Bayble

Translation by Derick Thomson

On the edge of the arable land, between two lights, the
plover runs and stops, and runs and stops, the white foam of
its breast like the star of evening, discovered and lost in my
looking, and the fragrance of summer, discovered and lost by
my nostrils, and the topmost grains of the wave of content,
discovered and lost by my memory.

Bayble Bay below me, and the village on the
skyline, the eternal action of the ocean, its
seeking and searching between the pebble stones
and in the rock crannies, and under the sand
of the cove; the everlasting movement of the
village, death and christening, praying and courting,
and a thousand hearts swelling and sinking, and here,
the plover runs and stops, and runs and stops.