Year: 
2022

Hugh MacDiarmid wrote "The Watergaw" in a Scots dialect. I have translated the poem into modern English to make it easier to read and understand. A watergaw is a fragmentary rainbow. 

The Watergaw
by Hugh MacDiarmid
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

One wet forenight in the sheep-shearing season
I saw the uncanniest thing—
a watergaw with its wavering light
shining beyond the wild downpour of rain ...
and I thought of the last wild look that you gave
when you knew you were destined for the grave.

There was no light in the skylark's nest
that night—no—nor any in mine;
but now often I've thought of that foolish light
and of these more foolish hearts of men ...
and I think that maybe at last I ken
what your look meant then.

Keywords/Tags: Scotland, Scot, Scottish, Scots dialect, night, nightfall, rain, grave, death, death of a friend, light, lights, watergaw, heart, heartache, broken heart, heart song

Author of original: 
Hugh MacDiarmid
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