Robert Crawford

We feature work by poet Robert Crawford to mark National Poetry Day 2012.

Cover of 'Poems for Sorley'
'Poems for Sorley' cover
image by Cailean MacLean.

Robert Crawford is Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews.

Born in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Robert is a prolific writer both of poetry and literary criticism. His biography of Robert Burns, 'The Bard', won the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year Award in 2009.

Robert's collections of poetry include:

  • 'A Scottish Assembly' (Chatto, 1990)
  • 'Spirit machines' (Cape, 1999)
  • 'Full volume' (Cape, 2008), which was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.

Four of Robert's collections have received Poetry Book Society Recommendations and he has won two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards.

This poem is taken from 'Dàin do Shomhairle' / 'Poems for Sorley', published by Urras Shomhairle / the Sorley MacLean Trust in association with the Scottish Poetry Library. This collection of poetry was commissioned to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Sorely MacLean. The pamphlet contains poems by Gaelic and non-Gaelic speaking poets.

To read another poem from this collection, visit Catriona Montgomery's page.


D Day

In memory of Sorley MacLean

Where the dead lie
In their boxed sets
In scenic graveyards
By the beach
I don't remember
A conquered speech
But an old preacher’s story
Of hungry, wary
Men down in the dumps
In barbed-wire camps
Across wintry, grey
Wartime Germany
After D Day,
When the prison guards banned
The dangerous sound
Of news from the front
And anyone shouting it
Was taken away,
But the prison padre
Singing high
And low
In Gaelic
To the HLI
So amused
And bemused the guards
That they did not take
Much notice of how
Some seemed to make
Something of his 'Buaidh-làrach! Buaidh-làrach!'
As the talk of the lost
Became in that place
The new speech
Of liberation.



'buaidh-làrach': victory


National Poetry Day 2012


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