February 2019 - Richard H. Roberts
Richard H. Roberts is a freelance writer and a retired Professor of Divinity. The musician Seylan Baxter set The White Swan to be learned by ear at a traditional violoncello class that the poet attends. He recalled a dreich Sunday autumn walk at Gartmorn Dam and the poem came to him. The original Gaelic song An Eala Bhàn was composed by Donald MacDonald (Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna) (1887-1967) during the Battle of the Somme and addressed to his beloved Magaidh NicLeòid.
The White Swan
One darkening kirk-bound Sabbath dusk
We tramped round Gartmorn Loch.
The coal shale mired our grimy boots,
And shades of miners lurked.
Then slicing through the sodden murk
Cob’s wings beat by the Dam,
With gleaming pen and cygnets three,
White blades flew straight and free.
Richard H. Roberts. 11/11/2018