Stitchers: Maria (Màiri Òg) Koroleva (Moscow), Tatiana Koroleva (Moscow), Diana-Alena Ailei-Stojchevich (Moscow), Charles-Edward Ailei-Stojchevich (Moscow), Ekaterina Zudina (Moscow), Anna Spiridonova (Moscow)
Perhaps the most profound cultural connection between Scotland and Russia is the ancient gift of Thomas the Rhymer emerging 600 years later in his descendant, the great poet Mikhail Lermontov. Thomas was a poet and prophet living in 13th century Ercildoune (Earlston). Mikhail was born in Moscow, descending from George Learmonth who settled in Russia in 1613. Both Mikhail and Thomas could predict the future of their land, both would escape to the mountains, both were haunted by the imagery of the Otherworld. In 2014 Russia celebrated Lermontov’s bicentenary and his bronze bust was brought to Earlston, fulfilling the poet’s ‘Yearning’ to see his ancestral lands.
Why am I not a bird, the raven of the steppes
That has just flown by above me?
Why cannot I hover in the skies
And freedom alone adore?
Westwards, ever westwards would I fly,
Where flourish the lands of my forebears,
Where in an empty castle, on mist clad mountains,
Rest their forgotten remains.
On an ancient wall their ancestral shield
And rusty sword hang.
Over the sword and shield would I fly
And flick away the dust with my wing;
A Scottish Harp string would I barely touch,
And a sound would swell up to the vaults;
By rapture alone aroused,
As it rose so would it subside.
But in vain are my hopes, in vain my entreaties
Faced with the unbending laws of fate.
Betwixt me and the hills of my native land
Spread the billowing seas.
The last offspring of gallant warriors
Lies withering amid alien snows;
Here was I born, but I do not belong here in my soul.
Oh! Why am I not a raven of the steppes?…
M. Lermontov, 1831
RU03A Tòmas an Rannair
Dh’fhaodadh gun tàinig an ceangal cultarach as doimhne eadar Alba agus an Ruis, tiodhlac àrsaidh Thòmais an Rannair, am bàrr 600 bliadhna às dèidh sin tro aon de a shliochd, Mikhail Lermontov. Bha Tòmas beò san 13mh linn ann an Ercildoune (Earlston) agus bha gibht na bàrdachd agus fàidheadaireachd aige. Rugadh Mikhail ann am Mosgo a’ tighinn bho shliochd Sheòrais Learmonth a thuinich anns an Ruis ann an 1613. Bha cumhachd aig Tòmas agus Mikhail le chèile ro-innse mar a bhiodh suidheachadh na dùthcha aca san àm ri teachd, bhiodh iad le chèile a’ teicheadh do na beanntan, bha iad le chèile air am buaireadh le ìomhaigheachd an t-Saoghail Eile. Ann an 2014, chomharraich an Ruis cuimhneachan dà cheud bliadhna Lermontov agus chaidh a bhodhaig umha a thoirt gu Earlston, a’ coileanadh “Fadachd” a’ bhàird air dùthchannan a shinnsearan fhaicinn.