An Iarran Mònach
This light-hearted song was composed by my father John ‘Seonaidh Beag’ Macmillan. It tells the story of a conversation he had with a now redundant peat iron which laments the decline of the peat cutting tradition.
Tha ‘n iarran mònach air a spar,
An dùil an thig e nuas gu bràth,
A ghearradh mòine dhomh air blàr,
A-measg an fhraoich sna tomanan.
Bha mi ‘n-dè sa sguab nam làmh,
‘S mi toirt sgriob air glanadh làir,
An uair a thug mi sùil an àrd,
Sann thòisich e ri bruidhinn rium.
Ghluais mi null is shuidh mi sios,
‘S mi ‘n dùil gu robh mi as mo chiall,
Oir cò an duine chual a-riamh,
An Iarran mònach bruidhinn ris.
Thuirt e tha sinn mìos na Màigh,
An àm a b’ abhaist dhomh bhith 'n sàs,
A gearradh mòine dhut air blàr,
A chumadh blàths gu h-Earrach thu.
A bheil thu ‘g ràdh g’ eil thu ro aosd,
Chan eil sin ach còmhradh faoin,
Tha mise ‘s tusa an co-aois,
‘S a-riamh cha d’ fhiult mi gearradh dhut.
Na smaoinich thusa dhuine truagh
Mar tha pris a' ghual dol suas
Mus pàigh thu 'n ola chuain a’ tuath
Nach truagh a bhios do sporran-sa.
Nuair a thig an Geamhradh reoitht,
Bidh thusa dùinte na do chòt'
Boinneag sileadh as do shròin,
As d’ fhiacalan mòr ri snagadaich.
Dh’ fhalbh mi sin is sheas mi an àrd,
Is dh’innse mi dhàsan mar a bha
Tha ‘n t-siataig air a thighinn nam làimh
‘S bhiodh tilgeil fàdan duilich dhomh.
Tha d’ obairs' seachad gu math luath,
Cha dean thu rùdhain a chuir suas,
Na ‘s motha na sin cha dean thu cruach
‘S e ‘n obair cruaidh a th’ agamsa.
Tha mi nise na mo dhùisg,
O cha robh sin ach aisling faoin,
Ach chuir e m’ inntinn sa gu smaoin
‘M bu choir dhomh buain an ath-bhliadhna.
The peat iron is hanging on the beam,
I wonder will it ever come down again,
To cut peats for me on the flat moor
Amongst the heather and the hillocks.
There I was yesterday with the broom in my hand,
As I swept the floor,
When I happened to look up
He started talking to me.
I moved aside and sat down,
Thinking that I had lost my sense,
Because who had ever heard of such a thing,
A peat iron talking to them.
He said we're in the month of May,
The time when we used to be busy,
Cutting peat for you on the moor
That would keep you warm until Spring.
Are you trying to say that you are too old,
That is nothing but foolish talk,
You and I are of the same age,
And I've never refused to cut for you.
Now thing of this you poor man,
As the price of coal continues to rise,
By the time you'd pay for the North Sea oil,
There will be nothing left in your wallet.
When the freezing winter arrives,
You'll be there wearing your coat,
Drops running from your nose,
And your big teeth chattering.
It was then I stood up,
And told him how it really was,
The arthritis has come to my hands
And throwing peats would be hard for me.
Your work is over very quickly,
You couldn't gather the peats for me,
And furthermore you can't make a peatstack
It is I who has the hard work to do
Oh it is now that I am awake,
That was nothing but a silly dream,
But it has made me think....
Should I cut peats next year.