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Metadata for text 29
No. words in text37264
Title Creachadh na Clàrsaich
Author Thomson, Derick
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1982
Date Of Language 1950-1999
Publisher MacDonald Publishers
Place Published Edinburgh
Volume N/A
Location National, academic and local libraries
Geographical Origins Lewis
Register Literature, Verse
Alternative Author Name Ruairidh MacThomais
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 22.3cm x 14cm
Short Title Creachadh na Clàrsaich
Reference Details EUL: .89163108Tho
Number Of Pages xiv, 283
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Derick Thomson was born in 1921 in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. His father, James Thomson, was from Tong in Lewis, and was a Gaelic teacher at the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway, before becoming the headmaster of Bayble School in Lewis. James Thomson was also a well known Gaelic writer, both of poetry and prose, and won the first Bardic Crown at the National Mod in 1923. He published numerous articles and was editor of An Gàidheal from 1958 to 1962. His collected poems were published in Fasgnadh in 1953.

Derick Thomson was an Assistant to Myles Dillon in Edinburgh in 1948. He got a newly created Lectureship in Welsh under Angus Matheson in Glasgow in 1949, which he held until 1956, when he moved to Aberdeen, being promoted to Reader. He became Professor at Glasgow, after Angus Matheson’s death, in 1963, and he held the post until 1991. In 1952, he and Finlay J. MacDonald founded the Gaelic magazine Gairm. After 1964, Thomson became the sole editor of Gairm (1952-2002) and built up Gairm Publications, which published many volumes of Gaelic and Gaelic related material. During his long career, Thomson published a number of books on Gaelic subjects, beginning with Gaelic Sources of Macpherson’s Ossian in 1952, and including An Introduction to Gaelic Poetry in 1974.

Thomson published 7 volumes of his own Gaelic poetry, these being An Dealbh Briste (1951), Eadar Samhradh is Foghar (1967), An Rathad Cian (1970), Saorsa agus an Iolaire (1977), Smeur an Dòchais/Bramble of Hope (1991), Meall Garbh (1995) and Sùil air Fàire (2007). In 1971, The Far Road was published in Lines Review, Vol. 39, which included all 56 poems from An Rathad Cian, in English only, ten poems from Eadar Samhradh is Foghar, also in English, and Anns an Ospadal, a six-part poem comprising 87 lines which was published in Gaelic with an English translation.

Thomson also edited a number of volumes of poetry and prose, including The Companion to Gaelic Scotland in 1983, Bàrdachd na Roinn-Eòrpa an Gàidhlig in 1990, Gaelic Poetry in the Eighteenth Century: a Bilingual Anthology in 1993, and Alasdair MacMhaighstir Alasdair: Selected Poems in 1996. Thompson founded the Gaelic Books Council in 1968 and was Chairman of the Council from that time until 1991. In 1974, he was awarded the Ossian Prize for poetry, and Creachadh na Clàrsaich saw him as joint winner of the Royal Bank of Scotland Saltire Society prize for the best book of 1982. This volume is a collection of his poems from 1940 to 1980. It includes most of the poems from his first four anthologies along with 23 poems that had not been published previsously.

Derick Thomson died in 2012.
Contents This volume begins with a table of Contents (pp. v-xi), followed by the Acknowledgements (p. xii), in which the author lists his collections of poetry to date, in which many of the poems and translations in this volume were published. He also lists the anthologies and periodicals in which many of the poems and translations have also appeared.

In the Preface (pp. xiii-xiv), Thomson explains that this collection combines his previous four volumes of poetry, although he has consciously excluded around twenty of these poems, and included 23 new poems. He explains that a number of recent poems have also been left out. While most of the poems have been translated, a number have not, ‘generally because they did not seem to me to be capable of satisfying translation, or would be too much damaged in the process’ (p. xiii). The translated poems are presented in Gaelic and English on facing pages. Thomson states that the earliest of the poems (from An Dealbh Briste) were written around 1938-40, and the latest in the Spring of 1980, and he explains that the poems are presented in this volume chronologically, as they were published in his previous collections. An Rathad Cian is the only collection which has been reproduced in its entirety, as it forms a sequence. The poems are presented as follows:

An Dealbh Briste (pp. 1-63): This section contains 45 poems from his first collection.

Eadar Samhradh is Foghar (pp. 65-123): This section contains 41 poems from his second collection. The poems are presented, as they were in the original collection, under the following headings: Eilean an Fhraoich, Gaidhealtachd na h-Albann, Air Fàire, Lus a’ Chorracha-mille, and Mar Chuimhneachan.

An Rathad Cian (pp. 125-83): This section contains the complete 56 poems from his third collection.

Saorsa agus an Iolaire (pp. 185-245): This section contains 34 poems from his fourth collection.

Anns an Ospadal (pp. 177-83): This section contains just one poem, Anns an Ospadal, which is presented in six parts, numbered I to VI. This poem was published in Lines Review 39 in 1971.

Dàin ás Ùr (pp. 247-83): This section contains 23 new poems which were written between 1977 and 1980.
Sources As mentioned above, all but 23 of the poems in this volume have been previously published in Thomson’s own collections, in periodicals, or in anthologies. This collection of poems has been edited by the author himself.
Language There are some recurrent themes in the poetry presented in this volume, such as love, nature, Lewis, and Scottish nationalism.

Many of Thomson’s early poems deal with love, and can be quite descriptive in their imagery. In A’ Snìomh Cainnte (p. 28), for example, he writes ‘Carson nach d’ fhalaich thu ann ad sheòmar \ na ciabhan seòlta dh’fhàg mis’ gun chèill, \ na sùilean ciùine ’s na bilean crò-dhearg, \ ’s a’ bhodhaig bhòidheach d’ an tug mi spèis. \ A luaidh nan làmh geal, cha dèan mi àicheadh \ gur tusa dh’fhàg mi fo phràmh leam fhèin, \ a’ snìomh bhruadair ’s a’ snìomh bàrdachd, \ ’s a’ call am màireach air sgàth an dè’ (p. 28).

Thomson also makes frequent use of nature imagery and his poems contain a number of words relating to the weather and to the sea. In Fàgail Leòdhais, 1949 (pp. 30-32), for example, the poet writes: ‘… \ am fonn ciar ann an sloistreadh na fairge, \ ceò is smonmhar [sic] an uisge, \ sgòthan dùmhail gan druideadh \ mu eilean mo bhreith agus m’ àraich. \ Marcan-sìne mu chladaichean Leòdhais— \ cha d’fhàg siud an cianalas orm-sa, \ ged is iomadach snaidhm tha gam cheangal, \ ’s ’se ’n fheadhainn a bhris mi as doirbh’ dhomh. \ An Cuan Sgìth steach gu cladach a’ Bhràighe, \ ’s chan iarrainn-sa falbh ás na fuireach, \ chan iarrainn-sa fuireach na falbh ás, \ ach ghiùlain an tràigh dheth mi ’n uiridh’ (p. 30). In Mu Chrìochan Hòil (pp. 70-76), the poet uses the changing seasons to describe his memories of that place, e.g. ‘Air latha Samhraidh bhiodh ar saoghal cruinn, \ gun ghuth air cur no buain, gun cheisd air dè \ a dh’fhalbh no thigeadh; grian a’ sruthadh soills \ …’ (p. 72).

Love and nature are often mixed, however, as, for example, in An Uilebheist (p. 126), where we find ‘… \ leis a’ chridhe sin a chailleadh, \ leis a’ chaile-chridhe-bianain, \ leis a’ mharcan-seachran-sìne, \ leis an earball-saillte-sàile, \ leis an fhuidheall de mo ghràdh dhut’ (p. 126). Other terminology relating to the weather includes ri fèath ’s ri siantan (p. 42), clachan-meallain (p, 62), reodhadh (p. 62), searbhachd reòt’ na gaillinn (p. 62), puinnsean an t-sneachda (p. 62), an t-earball-sàil (p. 58), drùchd (p. 68), and fo ghealach abachaidh an eòrna (p. 186).

The poems also contain numerous words for flowers, animals, and birds, including canach (p. 22), a’ churracag (p. 42), raineach (e.g. p. 68), fraoch (e.g. p. 68), còinteach is riasg (p. 68), deanntag (p. 68), seileasdair (p. 68), abhal-ghort (p. 68), fàileadh cruaidh iodhan an neòinein (p. 80), bradan (p. 94), duilisg (p. 94), uiseag (p. 104), Lus a’ Chorracha-mille (p. 114), an òdhrag (p. 128), còinneach (p. 136), crotal (p. 136), sgeallan (p. 140), stealladair (p. 140), ’n fhaoileag (p. 146), Iolaire (p. 148), cuthag (p. 152), ’n t-seillean (p. 170), ’m bàrr-gùg air a’ bhuntàt’, an gug-gùg (p. 170), crom-lus (p. 180), poca-salainn (p. 194), na fulmairean (p. 216), ’n t-sùlaire (p. 216), ’na fachaich (p. 216), fàileadh na h-iadhshlait (p. 220), na feòragan (p. 244), traon (p. 250), na cnuimhean (p. 254), and Rabaid (p. 260).

Crofting terminology and terminology relating to the house frequently occur in Thomson’s poems, for example talamh-àitich (p. 42), frith-rathad (p. 48), far am minig a choisich mi le’m chogan (p. 48), fodair (p. 68), cabair (p. 94), don t-sitig (p. 96), a’ chagailt (p. 92), na leapannan (p. 92), na plaideachan (p. 92), na h-aodaichean (p. 92), cathraichean (p. 92), uiread de cheanglaichean (p. 92), na sparran (p. 86), bhon an tughadh (p. 86), na thodhar (p. 86), air an talamh-buntàta (p. 86), buntàt’ is sgadan (p. 86), a’ cur fàd mun an teine (p. 86), an tairsgeir (p. 76), crodh air taod (p. 76), bò le cabhaig dàir oirr (p. 76), a’ falbh gu Dròbh air (p. 76), a’ bualadh a’ choirc anns an t-sabhal (p. 46), ga bhleith leis a’ bhrà (p. 46), obair a’ chorrain (p. 46), feannagan (p. 46), taighean-saillidh (p. 46), leas (p. 120), cisteachan-laighe (p. 122), na h-ùird ’s na tairgean, / na sàibh ’s na sgeilbean (p. 122), mhòinteach (p. 132), an riasg (p. 132), taigh-cùil (p. 138), bodach-ròcais (p. 140), dhan taigh-chèilidh (p. 140), an t-sabhal (p. 140), mullach zinc (p. 140), adagan (p. 150), maorach (p. 152), an t-eòrna (p. 160), bhon a’ chutadh (p. 162), a’ bhò ri bleoghan (p. 162), buntàta ri phriogadh (p. 162), anns an taigh-dhubh (p. 178), am fasgnadh (p. 180), spealan (p. 212), an iodhlainn (p. 232), stuagh mo thaighe (p. 251), chun a’ cheangail (p. 250), ris a’ ghad-droma (p. 250), an siaman (p. 250), an acair (p. 250), and troimhn fhàrlas (p. 260). Parts of the loom are described in Is Chunnaic Mi Thu ’Na Do Bheairt (p. 138), for example, ’n t-slinn, an crann-snàth, an t-sliseag-uchd, am maide-teannaidh, an spàl, and na fuigheagan (all p. 138).

Religious terminology appears throughout the text, e.g. Sàbaid (p. 76), a’ Chrois (p. 86), an Slànaighear (p. 86), an Dia (p. 86), air an Fhìrinn (p. 96), sìth Dhè (p. 96), O Bhàis (p. 120), oighreachd an Tighearna (p. 134), anns an Eaglais Shaoir (p. 134), Abharsair (p. 136), anns a’ Chlèir (p. 142), teampall (p. 146), altair (p. 146), ùrnaigh (p. 146), a’ frithealadh na h-èifhreann (p. 146), taigh-fhaire (p. 148), an Soisgeul (p. 156), ri linn Chrìosda (p. 162), a’ togail nan salm (p. 164), fann sèis nan searmon (p. 164), air an t-Samhainn (p. 168), oir na cùbainn (p. 182), an Cruthaidhear (p. 218), ris an dean E altachadh (p. 218), an Nàmhaid (p. 220), an t-abhlan coisrigte (p. 228), san taigh-choinneimh (p. 230), Àirc A’ Choimhcheangail (p. 268), An Ceistear (p. 270), na h-òrduighean (p. 278), air a’ choithional (p. 280), anns an t-suidheachan-mhòr (p. 280), and am Bìoball (p. 282).

Words denoting sorrow and negative states appear in a number of poems, for example grodas an donais (p. 26), dòrainn (p. 28), lèireadh (p. 28), mo chàs-sa (p. 28), fo mhulad (p. 38), gun chaoidh (p. 32), air seacadh ‘decayed’, (p. 46), a dh’aindeoin gach tuaileis (p. 50), fo sprochd (p. 92), a’ breothadh (p. 92), a’ lobhadh (p. 92), and leis a’ chruas, leis a’ chràdh (p. 126).

The poems also contain terminology relating to the body, e.g. rasgan (p. 242), moileanan (p. 242), cridhe (p. 242), mo chasan (p. 240), mo ghàirdeanan (p. 24), do chuisleanan (p. 241), do shùilean (p. 240), aodann (p. 238), t’ anail (p. 236), sgòrnan (p. 228, 232), fuil a sgamhain (p. 222), aig mo ghualainn (p. 220), spioladh nan cnàmh (p. 222), gruaidhean (p. 214), mionach (p. 214), amhach (p. 254), na h-ìnean (p. 258), mo bhilean (p. 268), and do chorrag (p. 268).

Other words and phrases of interest include, èiteag (p. 4), cluinnear nuallan nam pìob (p. 13), faloisgear (p. 22), leugachd (p. 22), chaomhag (p. 22), tein’-èibhinn (p. 22), mar chaineal (p. 22), bha ise gam fharraid (p. 26), fad mo rè (p. 28), deàlradh daoimein (p. 40), liagh mo ràimh-sa (p. 40), ùrtan (p. 42), air oir na h-iomagain (p. 42), cnapraich (p. 36), na fir-chlis (p. 44), mo thruaighe (p. 46), an t-iomair (p. 46),  (p. 48), luathghair (p. 48), meòirean (p. 48), ràthan (p. 52), sgailceadh (p. 56), mar chlothadh an teasaich bhraonaich (p. 56), ciartha (p. 67), dripealachd (p. 68), monabar (p. 68), tarcaiseach (p. 72), a’ falach-fead (p. 72), caile-bianan (p. 72), là na h-as-eirigh (p. 74), eubh (p. 74), Bodach an t-Siabainn (p. 96), a chum taca uair ri … (p. 92), beul na h-oidhche (p.80), a dh’ aindeoin Airm agus Nèibhi (p. 82), cathair-eaglais (p. 86), ’na dubh-fhacal (p. 86), cha mhair facal ach sealad (p. 86), bun-os-cionn (p. 88), thall ’s a-bhos (p. 88), Cuil-lodair (p. 98), bàs a’ chinn-adhairt (p. 118), do chàmhail (p. 134), turchairt (p. 134), liùdhag (p. 140), gocoman (p. 152), ’s e gha dhalladh (p. 152), Cion-diutha (p. 152), ’Na mo chuis-bhùirt (p. 156), an daorach (p. 156), prospaig (p. 168), làdach (p. 178), profeasairean (p. 198), luchd-reic-chàraichean (p. 198), einnsinidhears (p. 198), tarbh-chrann (p. 210), coma leat dhan a sin (p. 228), tùis (p. 236), facal air an fhacal (p. 236), Bhènus (p. 244), coileid (p. 250), Oidhche Shamhna (p. 260), Call-a-ghan (p. 262), crìoch air a’ chluain ud (p. 266), brèanloch (p. 268), òr-mheasan (p. 270), and nighneag (p. 6).
Orthography Thomson’s linguistic usage may be reflected in the use of such forms and terms as cha dainig (p. 84) and cha dug (p. 134), Cotriona Mhòr (p. 158), na ròidean (p. 168), go rather than gu (p. 226) and gos rather than gus (p. 140), bu mhò (p. 28), and eadhon (p. 4). Also of note is his use of uam and uat rather than bhuam and bhuat, man rather than mun (e.g. p. 178), rithis, rather than a-rithist (p. 50), and Thàine in Thàine Tu Thugam Ògail (p. 236).

The orthography is that of the late twentieth century. Only the grave accent is used throughout the text, with the exception of á and ás. Thomson uses t rather than d to denote the second person singluar possessive pronoun, e.g. t’ ùidh-s agus m’ ùidh-sa (p. 4), and prefers a final d to a final t, e.g. in èisd. Also of interest are the following forms of the word bliadhna that occur in this volume: air cuan nam blianntan (p. 56), iomadh blianna (p. 76), and plàsd nam bliannachan (p. 166).
Edition First edition. Differences between the poems published in this edition and in previous editions of Thomson’s work are mostly orthographic. All of Thomson’s previous collections use both the acute and grave accents. Comparing the version of the poem Air Bràigh Obar-Dheathain (p. 22) published in this volume, with that published in An Dealbh Briste, we can see that An Dealbh Briste has soluis rather than solais, dhomh-sa rather than dhomhsa, and gu’r rather than gur. It also has chaomhaig rather than chaomhag, however, and each line of each stanza begins with a capital letter where as in this volume it is only the first letter of each stanza that has been capitalised.

Eadar Samhradh is Foghar also has some orthographic differences, using ’chraobh instead of chraobh, an so instead of an seo and bliadhna instead of blianna. An Rathad Cian and Saorsa agus an Iolaire use a similar orthography to Eadar Samhradh is Foghar, preferring a nis to a-nis, roimh’n to roimhn, thigh-fhaire to taigh-fhaire, and a bhi to a bhith. The Far Road uses both accents in the poem Anns an Ospadal, along with a nis and troimh’n rather than a-nis and troimhn. Interestingly, the version of this poem published in this volume contains the forms troimhn and troimh’n (p. 180). The forms troimhn and roimhn are used elsewhere.

If dating poems to the year of composition or of first publication, editiors should excerpt from the earliest published edition of each poem.
Other Sources
Further Reading Thomson, Derick, An Dealbh Briste (Edinburgh, 1951: Serif).
Thomson, Derick, Gaelic Sources of Macpherson’s Ossian (Edinburgh, [1952]: [n. pub.]).
Thomson, Derick, Eadar Samhradh is Foghar (Glasgow, 1967: [n. pub.]).
Thomson, Derick, An Rathad Cian (Glasgow, 1970: Gairm).
Thomson, Derick, ‘The Far Road’, in Lines Review, 39 (1971).
Thomson, Derick, An Introduction to Gaelic Poetry (London, 1974: Gollancz).
Thomson, Derick, Saorsa agus an Iolaire (Glasgow, 1977: Gairm).
Thomson, Derick, ed., The Companion to Gaelic Scotland (Oxford,1983: Blackwell).
Thomson, Derick, ed., Bàrdachd na Roinn-Eòrpa an Gàidhlig (Glasgow, 1990: Gairm).
Thomson, Derick, Smeur an Dòchais/Bramble of Hope (Edinburgh, 1991: Canongate).
Thomson, Derick, ed., Gaelic Poetry in the Eighteenth Century: a Bilingual Anthology (Aberdeen, 1993: Association for Scottish Literary Studies).
Thomson, Derick, Meall Garbh (Glasgow, 1995: Gairm).
Thomson, Derick, ed., Alasdair MacMhaighstir Alasdair: Selected Poems (Edinburgh, 1996: Scottish Academic Press for Scottish Gaelic Text Society).
Thomson, Derick, Sùil air Fàire (Stornoway, 2007: Acair).
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