Angus MacPhail: a poetic tribute to Runrig

Want to read more?

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Oban Times – subscribe today for as little as 56 pence per week.

Already a subscriber?


Subscribe Now

I can assure readers that when I wrote last week’s piece about Malcolm Jones I had no idea of the announcement that was coming the next day, but as it turned out the sentiments of it were more pertinent than I expected.
As most will now know, on August 18, 2018, Runrig will bring their 45-year reign as the unmatched kings of Celtic music to an end with a final concert underneath the majesty of Stirling Castle.
All the energies, attributes, fortune, favour, character and creed that created this powerful entity that is now nearing the end of its rich voyage could not be given justice in a whole edition of The Oban Times, far less a 500 -word article.
So in extension to my piece of last week, here are some short verses on Runrig. Thanks and credit to my mother, Flora, for the last verse.
They conquered the world in the ways of the wise
On a wavelength in tune with their past;
Without brash ambition to grab for the prize
No dash to be flash or be fast.
But steadfast and steady they
furrowed the field
With a plough that their people passed down.
By the gifts of their skill, unmatched was the yield
Healed land, by their hand, is their crown.
And conquer they have, but with nobody beaten
They have won but no-one has lost.
On the power of their poem, a race starved and has now eaten
And a cliff from abyss has been crossed.
They have led with the beam of a lighthouse at sea
And guided a ship from the reef.
If the ship of the Gael continues to be
Nod then to their pen and belief.
Pioneers of a path to share wide their song
They showed the way first for us all,
And all who come after in debt will belong
For their grit to commit to their call.
Through blood to the Brothers the gifts of the bards
Then a well of deep riches combine
For working the well are god-given guards
Turning thought and the water to wine.
Humble the ways of true leaders of men

With grace and humility’s hand
When asked ‘What is Runrig?’, time and again
To this day they will say, ‘Just a band.’
But ‘just a band’ they are not, and never have been
From inception, through change and transition
From the seed to the sapling, their song evergreen
With a key to the tree of tradition.
What they’ve done for their people cannot be repaid
Giving confidence back to the young.
Past members and present all built what was made.
To our side now the tide they have swung.
And now from their stage they have planned their last bow
In the way they have lived for their goal –
With dignity, wisdom and guiding the prow
All done, while at one with their soul.
Fir ghasda, fir ghaisgeil, stèidh’chte daingeann san tìr
Le sùil ghèur air cuireachd ’s air buain;
Le feamainn an dualchais chuir iad todhar air fonn.
Le gach tonn dhùin iad ‘Cearcall a’ Chuain’.