PennSound: Hugh MacDiarmid

The Watergaw*

 

One wet, early evening in the sheep-shearing season
I saw that occasional, rare thing —
broken shaft of a rainbow with its trembling light
Beyond the downpour of the rain
And I thought of the last, wild look you gave
Before you died.

 

The skylark’s nest was dark and desolate,
My heart was too
But I have thought of that foolish light
Ever since then
And I think that perhaps at last I know
What your look meant then.

 

 

Ae weet forenicht i the yow-trummle
I saw yon antrin thing.
A watergaw wi its chitterin licht
Ayont the on-ding;
An I thocht o the last wild look ye gied
Afore ye deed!

 

There was nae reek i the laverock’s hoose
That nicht-an nane i mine;
But I hae thocht o that foolish licht
Ever sin syne;
An I think that mebbe at last I ken
What your look meant then.

 

*In MacDiarmid’s words: “A watergaw is a broken rainbow, a broken shaft of a rainbow that you can see sometimes between clouds — not a complete arc, the broken shaft of the rainbow.”

Scottish Poets Hugh MacDiarmid and Sorley MacLean in Correspondence

Hugh MacDiarmid reads “The Watergaw”, The Glass of Pure Water”, and other poems at PennSound:

 

Source: PennSound: Hugh MacDiarmid

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