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Ae Braemar Prayer

Braemar Burn

Sparkl’n burn by Braemar wood
Tumbl’d stane upon grey stane
Thair, a lone lass waits an waits
Rememberin’ lang his last embrace
Blue eyes ablaze, ae stormy night
How she savour’d his last kiss
While snow fell lang upon blue hills
Own’ly heav’n ken he’d n’er return

Eff own’ly she’d tarry’d
Eff own’ly she’d begg’d
Eff own’ly he’d rest’d
Safe in her arms

Now she wonders, now she sighs
First a prayer, then a tear
Ae lone lass waits by Braemar wood
Wair a sparklin’ burn rushes
Wair her heart’s understood.

©2013 S. Michaels Alba Songs
Braemar rest

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Tae Luv Alba

Dockside enroute to Iona, S. Michaels 2008

We wowk’d, an dinna speak, we listn’d, an we haird
How lone’ly wair auld Alba’s sighs, o’er silent centuries turn’d
Notch’d stanes an markers, as Alba sang her siren songs
Uv ages cum an g’own, unwritt’n tales an tunes
She sang uv lovers, an uv wars, uv dreams wich niver wair
Uv isles ow auld an worn, we listn’d, an we haird
Uv Alba’s kings, an croons, rugg’d tales uv workin’ men
Uv women an uv wee bairns, Alba sigh’d on res’less winds
Pluck’d tender’ly by her hands, she play’d her harp agin
Uv stars, uv whisper’d nights, uv stags upon great heights
Uv runnin’ streams, uv deer, uv clair n’rushin’ burns
We wair, we tho’t, made rich, by a journ’y we dinna earn
An lookin’ back alang thae way, we stole anither turn
Aroon’d her sweepin’ ramparts. we wax’d young, an dinna wane
Aye, we listn’d an we lairn’d, tae luv Alba as oor ane

© S. Michaels 2013
Alba Songs

Dunvegan Castle Tower, S. Michaels 2008


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Glenfinnan’s C’owl

Glenfinnan copyright 2008 SMichaels

Sae braw, sae fair n’flower’in
Entwine’d as sea wi’ land

Ae climb’d Glenfinnan’s t’oors
Tae stare wide an miles a’roond

An saw a’stride upon blue hills
All his’try silent n’ watchin’ still

Linger’in ‘en sunlight ow a’lown
Wi’ sea birds swoop’n ow a’rownd

Ae sound reach’d me, swee’ n’clear
An made me stop an list’n near

Wair it a cowl’in in me heart?
A cowl’in uv thae clans?

Ae drift’d on sech saint’ly heights
As tho’ reborn an’ sprout’in wings

Ae laugh’d a’lowd tae me own wee sowlf
And wonder’d where on earth I’d g’own

Way doon upon thae quiet shores
Ae haird once agin ae rushin’ roar

P’rhaps et wair ae fleet’in fancy
Methinks I’ll niver tru’ly ken

Sound’d mair ‘lik a ‘gather’in’ song
An ancient gather’in in thae glens

Ae cowl’in, cowl’in uv thae clans
Tae ‘mak thair wa’ ‘bak hame

© 2013 S. Michaels
Alba Songs

for Rod & Rob, the Garson twins – Happy ’50’

Glenfinnan twinsies

Twa Scotties a’ Glenfinnan, 2008 S. Michaels


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Fair Blue

Where hills dip green an highlands soar
Above thae world’s outrageous clamour
We dream’d ae dream ‘neath lilac skyes
An soar’d above heather’d rustic realms
An list’n’d lang near rushin’ burns
An felt oor eyes drawn into a gaze

Fair blue, as Alba’s isles

Past sweepin’ rugged rain-wash’d glens
Where highland deer defy swift men
Circled aboot oor hearts, a gowlden band
Tied sweet tae ae piper’s ramblin’ tunes
We sang tales uv truth an ow tha’s guid
Wi’ drums drum’in deep as billow’d seas

Fair blue, as Alba’s flag

A’lang wild rivers an windin’ trails
We cross’d tae stand near ancient stanes
By fortresses found’d on age-auld hills
Surround’d by springtime Dunvegan blooms
We watch’d an felt new dreams tak wing
Clear an strong as ony ae heart tha’ sings

Fair blue…as Alba’s eyes

© 2012 S. Michaels
Alba Songs

Author’s Note: ‘Alba’ – is the ancient Gaelic name for Scotland


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Scapa Flow

Eff stanes culd talk, eff stanes culd speak
They’d tell tales sorrow’ful, an’ mak’ ye weep
They’d tell stories lang, an mak’ yer heart break
By thae shores uv Scapa Flow…

Why Katie, why, lassie, why di’ you weep?
Thae stanes wuld say, thae stanes wuld sigh
We echo yer tears, we gath’r them near
As angels draw close, in lone’ly times
Wen souls wax cow’ld, an fair hearts ache
We stanes will liste’n,  we’ll tremble an break
By thae shores uv Scapa Flow

Why Mary, why darlin’, oh, why di’ ya sorr-ah?
We stanes held ye close, we’ll howld ye tomorr’a
We haird yer in luv wi’ ae prisoner o’ war
Eff he luvs ye true, surely he’ll ret’urn
Breakin stane upon stane, dream’in uv yew
By thae shores uv Scapa Flow

Why Loora, oor wee one, och, why di’ ya weep?
Awa’ tae Lamb Holm, we saw ye sail awa
We stanes watch’d an waited, we stanes alw’as will
We ken mair th’an ye, we ken tha’ he’s g’own
As ye waited by tha’ chapel, ae dear one tae wed
By the shores uv Scapa Flow

© 2012 S. Michaels Alba Songs 

Author’s Note: As I listened ‘lang’ to the sound of crashing waves on the headland while visiting Scapa Flow (famous for its historic shipwrecks) and Lamb Holm in the Orkney Islands (where the Italian Chapel was built by prisoners of war during WWII), it was impossible not to wonder…”…if the stones (stanes) of this rugged Scottish isle could speak, what would they tell us…?”


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Ae Selkie Song

By silken seas, fair blue as heather
Wair romance blooms, swee’t en mid’summer
Wair maybells swoon, an seals swim deep
B’neath great waves, wair Thurso sleeps
Ae lone lass gazed, o’er oceans wide
Wair great streams flow’d wi’ North Sea tides
On an on for’ever, seven years n’ more
An seven years since, she wait’d thair
Stand’n her gro’ond, she alwa’s remain’d
Wair her tru luv alive, he’d return again
An sae she sang her heart’s refrain…

Eff he’s a selkie true
Oooh-aye, oooh-aye, ae selkie sings
Oooh-aye, oooh-aye, ae selkie cries
An as he cries, his luv returns
Eff he’s a selkie true

Drum beats echo’d, o’er great waves
Pound’n like tha’ heart of tha lassie brave
Across wide miles, afar as Graemsay
Wair Orkney’s strands, an sagas sing
Ae song uv twa lovers, wi’ luv sae deep
They’re for’ever bound, nae matter whit
Tae her arms he’ll swim, she’s certain uv it
He’ll return ow’ny day, she’s waitin fer im
Seven years she cried upon thae seas
Seven years mair, she’d wait agin
An sae she sings her heart’s refrain…

(repeat refrain)

© 2012 S. Michaels
Alba Songs 

Author’s Note:  Selkies are a part of Scots and Orkney folklore. 


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Iona’s Courts


I ken o’wn’ly guid hearts trul’y find
Peace in th’Abbey’s stone grey t’oor
Wha’ sweet’ness uv heav’n thair lays
Bejewel’d a’rownd wide silent hills
Ae sacre’d place wair birdsong trills
Wair clov’er carpets grace thae earth
An tuck’d behind each solemn stane
Auld prayers still wait an linger on
As branches uv thae wild yew tree
Tae ken tha place, is tae be free
Neath shad’y boughs, on sunny days
Ae piper’s song, will pipe tha’ way
An trustin’ hearts be set aright
Here, en Iona’s fair green courts

© 2012 S. Michaels
Alba Songs