Extracts from William's third book...

CRACKNRIGG is available from this site as a PDF download - see menu.



If you would like to hear William reading Kildan Fragments, the poem below, please go to the 'Radio Broadcasts' page.... To hear 'The White Christ' from Craknrigg now, click the jukebox button abd choose number 21 from the menu.

Kildan Fragments

(To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the evacuation of the island community of St. Kilda, on  29th August 1930).


I will not fall

Though my frame be on fire


The same sun

Strikes Mary McQueen


She sits with her father and brother

Blazing feet on young gannets


For her and her only

I will risk the mistress stone


We will swear together my Mary and I

Crucifix and people will witness



Like most my first choice is fulmar flesh

But mackerel shoals are passing


I sit with my kin for the Mod

As every morning except Sunday in the Street


Mod or St. Kilda parliament

It makes no odds


Fish or fowl we have to decide

Last week we re-allocated the strips



I lament for my brother

I lament for us all

Shout Stac an Armin

Tell the fowlers that Col has gone over

We bake bread and kill the sheep already


Lament as we walk the

Sun's shadowto

Gill-Criosed in the afternoon

There are no corners to hide in

Christ's Sepulchre takes us all


Lament as we eat bread and mutton around the grave

Lament for seven days

But remember always the man who loved us in fowling

Remember he was our strong hands and feet

Remember Coll who has gone over



I share the Michelmas cake

As I shared the Brendan Feast

And ride a horse on Hirta

Galloping before the Sluagh


For all our sakes I share


The Spirit Host can pick you up

The Spirit Host can let you fall

For friendship with our brother Archangel

This cake is a token



Sleep a night on Conachair

Awake a poet encompassed


Make music with wind and sea birds

Our song remnant is decried


Only Euphemia MacCrimmon

Cares to remember


Her old-age stick

Thrust into sand

Rapt stones recall the

Dance of the fulmar share-out



When sun divides glen

Ishould fear no evil


But whowill walk for us

The long afternoon shadow


From death house to grave circle?

If need be crossing the strips


Who tramples the last crop?


Mary Gillies went over in June

This August day St. Kilda dies


We have killed the dogs

Yesterday Dunara shipped our beasts


Exodus remnant waits to board Harebell

Leaving bibles and corn



Mistress stone - a large rock where young men who wished to marry were challenged to balance to prove their worthiness.

Mod - Where the men met in the Street to discuss the days activities (see illustration below).

Stac an Armin - Pinnacle on St Kilda.

Gill-Croised - a ceremonial place for burials.

Hirta - An island in the St Kilda group.

Conachair - mountain on St. Kilda.

Dunara and Harebell - ships involved in the evacuation