Liam Crouse (2012): I Came From the Gloomy Forest

The following poem was composed by Liam Alasdair Crouse in December 2012 in Wakefield, Rhode Island. The opening line of the poem is a literary allusion to one of the most celebrated and iconic Gaelic poems about immigration to North America, “A’ Choille Ghruamach,” composed by Iain MacGilleain (Am Bard MacGilleain) between 1817 and 1820 about his frustrations settling in Nova Scotia.

Gun Dàinig Mise on Choille Ghruamaich

Gun dàinig mise on Choille Ghruamaich,
Far na chinn mi suas san àm,
Agus air gach seòl leò a bha mi eòlach,
Air gach nòs a th’ aig a’ phoball ann.
‘S ann chaidh mi thar sàil’, à tìr rinn m’ àrach,
Agus dh’fhan mi tamall an tìr nam beann.
‘S a dh’aindeoin mire bh’ againn ‘san tìm ‘ud,
Thug iad orm tilleadh thar linn’ a-nall.

Fhios gun robh còir ‘am a bhith a’ snòtadh
An robh droch bholadh fleòdradh mun cuairt;
Cò leis an coire, an deamhain Tòraidh
An òinid ghòrach ‘s a chòmhlan nan truaill.
Ma choilean an rùn, ‘s a gheibh an dùrachd,
Gun reach an dùthaich na mhùthadh truagh,
Ach tha mi ‘n dùil gum faigh e cùl-thaobh
Dar gheibh sibh iùl-dùthch’ san ùine uaibh.

Gus an tig ‘n uair sin bidh mi ‘s mo smuaintean,
Taobh thall a’ chuain, gu luaineach san tràth.
Tha mis’ air lomadh mar neach gun chosnadh,
Gun mhòran dòighean a’ faotainn às.
An siostam-malairt san Eilean Ròdach,
Gach òigfhear gun chothrom dha.
Ann an Tìr nan Gall, cò bhiodh gam fhastadh,
Seachd àraidh le ceum sa chainnt seo ann?

Is dar a thillinn, air m’ ais don tìr ‘ud,
Mar tha mo mhiann an ceann bliadhna sìos,
Tha fhios ann daonnan mar tha ar saoghal,
A’ dèanamh caochladh na deann cho tric.
Bidh gach deagh charaid a bh’ ann san àbhaist,
Sgapte o chàch ‘s air an sgaradh innt’;
‘N t-àit’ a dh’aithnichinn tràighte mar amar,
‘S am bacadh air a tharruing ro chlis.

‘S mi nis nam aonar ri osna daonnan,
Gun bhadan fraoich rim thaobh no air fair’,
Tha mi gun stiùireadh, gun ùidh no cùram,
A’ call na h-ùineadh gu ciùin gach latha.
Is e seo ach m’ òige, gun dòigh r’a òrdugh,
Dar bu chòir bhith ri spòrs, tha ri tàmh,
‘S gach craobh a’ dlùthadh, a’ dalladh m’ ùrnaigh,
Tha mi gun ùrachadh a’s a’ bhad.

I came from the Gloomy Forest

I came from the Gloomy Forest,
Who raised me when I was young,
Where I knew every sentiment
And every custom of the folk.
It was that I left across the ocean, far from my native shore,
And a came to dwell for a while in the land of the mountains.
Despite all amusement we had during that time,
I was made to return, across the sea, again.

I know I should have been wary,
To see what foul stent was floating about;
Who was guilty, but the damned Tory,
The silly fool and his perverted group.
If they fulfil their desire, and they get their wish,
The country will see a pitiful change,
But I am in hope that he will be sacked,
When you get Independence in the coming time.

Until that day comes, my thoughts,
On the other side of the ocean, will be grim.
I have been stripped, a man without effect,
Without much manner of escape
From the economy in Rhode Island,
Every youth is without work or opportunity to him,
And in the Land of the Gall, who would employ me,
With a degree in Gaelic anyway?

And when I would return, back to that land,
As is my desire to do in a year or so,
Many know how invariably our world
Does change so quickly and often.
Every friend who I had,
Will be scattered and separated from each other;
The place I recognised, drained like a tub,
With the stop pulled out too quickly.

I am here on my own, often yearning,
Far from clumps of heather,
I am without direction, concern or care,
Losing the time quietly each day.
This is naught but my youth, without a way to stop it,
When I should be at play, I am at rest,
And every tree is closing in, squelching my prayer,
And I am without renewal in the thicket.