By Catriona Black

Horsetail, I am you.

Equisetum, rooted deep.

Hier heermoes,

biorag an siud:

travelling rhizomes.


Paardenstaart, I am you.

Living fossil, artifact.

Ik hoor hier,

agus thall,

botanical migrant.


Cuilg sruth-eich, I am you.

Paleozoic survivor,

diep in de bodem,

an sàs anns a’ mhòinidh,

tin-polish strong.


Equisetum arvense,

you were there,

mus deach mo thìr

en mijn andere land

door zee a sgaradh.


[Latin] horsetail

[Dutch] horsetail here

[Gaelic] horsetail there



[Dutch] horsetail


[Dutch] I belong here

[Gaelic] and beyond



[Gaelic] horsetail


[Dutch] deep in the earth

[Gaelic] embedded in the peat



[Latin] horsetail


[Gaelic] before my land

[Dutch] and my other land

[Dutch] by sea [Gaelic] were divided


By Catriona Black

Catrìona Black left Scotland for the Netherlands five years ago. She has made acclaimed Gaelic animations for the BBC and award-winning illustrated children’s books in Gaelic. She was Sunday Herald art critic. Now she is a printmaker (Black Prints), and writes and edits English texts.

Cover image: “Equisetum”, drypoint, 15x10cm, 2017 by Catriona Black