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An t-Òban

Author: Angus Peter Campbell

Nuair a chaidh mo mhàthair

a dh’ obair anns na taighean-òsta

bha i am measg nan Gàidheal.

Mòrag,

a bhiodh a’ sgùradh nan ùrlair

agus Seonag ag iarnaigeadh gach tubhailt

gus an robh iad a’ dèàrrsadh geal

mar chlòimh nan uan air madainn earraich.

Eadar aon uair deug is uair feasgar

àm dheth, agus às dèidh na messages a cheannach

fois le cupa tì is ciogaireat

ann an ‘Refresh’ na stèisean

is cabadaich is seanchas is gaol is gàire

ro shioft an fheasgair

agus an uairsin,

gun dùil, aon shamhradh,

thàinig Kirk Douglas a dh’ fhuireach san taigh-òsta

agus nuair a dh’ fhalbh e dh’fhàg e a’ chuid mhogain

donn is cumanta

a thog i dhachaigh mar dhuais

airson a saothair.

Oban

When my mother

went to work in the hotels

she was amongst Gaels.

Morag,

who scrubbed the floors,

and Seonag ironing all the tablecloths

until they shone white

like the wool on the lambs on a Spring morning.

Between 11am and 1 in the afternoon

time off, and after buying the messages

a rest with a cigarette and a cup of tea

in the station refresh

and chat and gossip and laughter and love

before the afternoon shift

and then,

unexpectedly, one summer,

Kirk Douglas came to stay at the hotel

and when he checked out

left his slippers, common grey,

which she took home as a reward

for all her labours.