A Sense of Place

Poems and quotes

Below are some inspirational poems and quotes about some of the awe-inspiring places Celtic Compass takes you to explore to give you a sense of the places.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost


Iona Poems 

After the storm
blue sky comes back –
a whole field of sunlight

A little glen
opens its winter dark
into the riches of orchids

The marble quarry
is never where you want it to be –
I’m sure they move it in winter
Kenneth Steven 

“That man is little to be envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona” 
Samuel Johnson 

A Celtic Toast
Long may your lum reek (chimney smoke)
may your porridge never sour,
and may a wee mouse never leave your larder hungry. 

My Heart’s in the Highlands
Farewell to the mountains, high-cover’d with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-handing woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
Robert Burns, 1789 

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought tae mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
Robert Burns 1788


For the Traveller

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing.
Make sure, before you go,
To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you towards
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life;
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

John O’Donohue

The Lord of the Isles,  Canto IV 

Merrily, merrily goes the bark
On a breeze from the northward free.
So shoots through the morning sky the lark,
Or the swan through the summer sea.
The shores of Mull on the eastward lay,
And Ulva dark and Colonsay,
And all the group of islets gay
That guard famed Staffa round.
Then all unknown its columns rose,
Where dark and undistrub’d repose
The cormorant had found,
And the shy seal had quiet home,
And welter’d in that wonderous dome,
Where, as to shame the temples deck’d
By skill of earthly architect,
Nature herself, it seemed would raise
A Minister to her Maker’s praise!
Her columns, or her arches bend;
Nor of a solemn tells
That mighty surge that ebbs and swells,
And still, beneath each awful pause,
From the high vault an answer draws,
In varied tone prolong’d and high,
That mocks the organ’s melody.
Nor doth its entrance front in vain
To old Iona’s holy fane,
That Nature’s voice might seem to say,
Well hast thou done, frail Child of clay!
Thy humble powers that stately shrine
Task’d high and hard – but witness mine!’
Sir Walter Scott

As it was,
As it is,
As it shall be
With the ebb,
With the flow.
Carmina Gadelica