Mons Graupius

(site of the battle between the Romans and the Caledonian tribes 84 AD)

Cruel is the howling storm,
Cruel is the raging sea,
But they have no human heart
And know not what a life could be.
Cruel the cold, but crueller still
Are the hands that want to kill.

You who dwell in the smile of the sun,
Why don't you leave us our barren rocks?
You who bathe in honey and wine,
Why don't you leave us our meagre stocks?

For you it is just one more drop in an ocean,
For us it is life and existence and breath;
For your sons and your ladies a reason to boast,
For our women and children enslavement and death.

What do you seek from our wind-lashed lands?
You've already found enough copper and tin.
What reason to bind our hard-toiling hands?
You've already enslaved our brothers and kin.

We do not want your well-ordered cities,
Will you never be able to understand?
All we need is our home that sustains us,
On the verge of the ocean, the soul of this land.

Cruel is the howling storm,
Cruel is the raging sea,
But they have no human heart
And know not what a life could be.
Cruel the cold, but crueller still
Are the hands that want to kill.

So you chose the bloody streams,
Chose the tortured dying screams;
So you chose the pouring blood,
Tread the flowers into mud;
So you chose the ruddy flow,
Chose the piercing wails of woe;
Chose the women's desperate cries
And terror in the children's eyes.

But just as ebb will follow flow,
You will come and you will go,
And after centuries of strife,
You will die – but we survive.

Obar Dheathain 1993