Translating Mountains from the Gaelic
A pebble on the tongue –
my clumsy mouth stumbles their meanings:
Beinn Laoghail to Ben Loyal,
Beinn Uais to Ben Wyvis,
turning Bod an Deamhain
from Demon’s Penis to Devil’s Point.
My throat a stream-gorge
where quartz chunks clatter against each other –
my English rolling off their sharp consonants.
Next summer, I’ll shoulder my red rucksack,
a Platypus bottle, and a vial of Dad’s ash,
taking the less-worn path.
A deerfly, its eyes peridot ringstones,
will pincer my skin for blood,
my voice a trespasser.
Dad, I’ll pour your English dust
for the hungry roots of the hill’s eldest pine –
the rain will seep through you
and mingle you with Schiehallion.