Northwords Now Issue 34

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Euphemia MacCrimmond

Eibhrig NiCruimein

by Stephanie Green


(On 22nd May, 1865,  Alexander Carmichael, collector of Gaelic folklore, songs and poetry, travelled to St Kilda to meet their bard, Euphemia, aged 84. )


The world grows dark. Winds howl
round my Taigh Dhu as I tend
my lamp, filling it with fulmar oil.

Exiled in my own house. Mocked by the minister:
Give up your foolishness. At your age,
you should be thinking of your eternal home.

A stranger sought me out, led
by an excited crowd of villagers,
curious, enthralled – visitors so rare.

He begged for the gift of my voice.
I sang, straining over the hubbub,
the shouting children, barking dogs,

while he scribbled down what he could.
He promised to return but he never did.
I have so much more: hymns to the old gods,

the sun and moon, stars and waters,
love songs and laments for those gone over,
keening like smoke turning in the air.


Six Poems on the Leaving of St Kilda
Euphemia MacCrimmondPoem by Stephanie Green
I might as well be a widow (1900) Poem by Stephanie Green
I tell my husband I am pregnant and he sets out to make a tiny coffin (1891)Poem by Stephanie Green
The Boat Cold Poem by Stephanie Green
The Leaving of St Kilda (1930) Poem by Stephanie Green
Walking on Air in Gannet Slippers Poem by Stephanie Green