Poetry Map

We all know poems about Scotland but can the shape and nature of Scotland be drawn entirely in poetry? StAnza has set itself the challenge to see if this is the case. Find out more about the project and how to submit your poem by clicking here, or browse the poems using the map. Latest poems are listed below.

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 286

Sunday 21 July 2019, 14:42
SKYE BLUES
 
the constellation of Mallaig
turns on its harbour lights
and sends silver filaments
across the Christmas water
like lost strands of lametta
 
the Ardvasar Hotel gives up
its obligation to celebrate
 
brown untidy bungalows
provide a kitch spectacle
of bruised plastic snowmen
and sparkle-eyed reindeer
leaping electric blue icicles
 
dwarfs climb a snow-ladder
looking whisky malicious
and ready to snatch back
any gift Santa might offload
 
we’re a couple of silhouettes
in front of a neon sleigh
warming ourselves on disdain
 
our New Year was a duty
and we are tired of caring
 
sorry for our bad temper
and what we failed to do
until the night hushes us
with an abracadabra of stars
 
 
Robin Wilson

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

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Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 285

Monday 15 July 2019, 20:13
Tinto
 
How a hill matters
watched from a train,
looking up from a book,
coming home from London,
sitting on the right side to see
the shining shallow Clyde,
 
cut like peat from the grassy
moors beyond the Uplands,
before the falls, before the port.
We walked once from our house
to Tinto, along pink lanes,
up the quiet side,
 
the prehistoric heave of a lone hill.
I went up on my own sometimes.
Living in the woods, needing
barren mass, an effort of height.
With you, eating cheese
and Marmite sandwiches at the top,
 
backs to the wind, settling
our bottoms on clunking stones,
imagining Ireland, Lochnagar.
It’s Scotland’s largest cairn,
as old as smelting. I wish I’d known
we were supposed to carry a rock
 
to the top each time. Instead
of bringing, I took a Tinto stone.
It lies here now on my sill in Canada,
where I live in the woods again.
One day I’ll return it to its cairn,
put Scotland back where it belongs.
 
Joanna Lilley

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

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Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 284

Wednesday 10 July 2019, 16:23

Tiree: Ringing Stone

Boldly across the machair, springy underfoot,
then field gates to open, bolts icy in the wind,
or stringed shut with obscure knots; one
with twisted wire too stiff for fingers, climbed.
When I asked at the farm they said
‘It looks like nothing else around‘.

Past a small wind turbine silver-snipping
obsessively at a water-colour sky,
starlings rise from the marsh-grass,
skimming as a collective mind
through jostling air, in complex skeins
confusing as the path I try to find.

Following the sea-edge, fractal, fractured
by endless arguments between the waves,
eroding gales, lichens, grasses, sheep.
The path bends in a conjuror’s trick, its
reveal this shoulder-high egg,
skin-smooth, grey, a single heavy thought.

Fingers pulled across its micro-pitted face
read no message in its extra curves:
cupped hollows in the rock, made by
who knows who, once upon a time.
For sacrificial blood, good luck? From boredom,
‘I was here?’ The meaning’s gone.

I take a hand-sized pebble,
strike the surface, magic out a mellow note,
hanging in the air. Within its ‘clung’
the absent glacier groans,
this ringing stone polished and dropped,
to lie until the ice returns.

Ruth Aylett

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 283

Tuesday 9 July 2019, 11:40

Cowrie Cove

The cowrie gatherers - a mismatched pair
bundled in cast-off clothes -
bend down to scan the shingle,
ignoring glints of glass salted by years at sea,
flecks of shell, cartilage splinters,
old fragments of ship shrapnel,
garlands cast for the drowned,
rusted things once useful,
barnacles’ dust, amber rocks,
stones scored with arteries,
mollusc speckles, iridescent slivers,
squat cochleae polished by tides.
They edge forwards - stand up - stoop again -
imprisoned between work and hope
and the conflicting scale of the horizon.
 
Have they found the right curve of the bay,
the very crook of Lothian land
between Eyemouth and the Head,
that legendary place where year on year
the cowries gather?
Grey waves slurp the red rocks
promising, promising
small shells pocketed as labour’s solace:
eroded fingerprints, lost seven-years’ skin.

Nancy Campbell

This poem previously appeared in Painted, Spoken

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 282

Monday 8 July 2019, 16:05
Address to Beecraigs
 
Beecraigs,yer wuids are deep an thick
Tho' somehou lackin Nature's lick.
Laid oot sae neat as brick on brick
They'd mak Macbeth
Prepare fir daith
Thae schiltrons like a witch's trick.
 
Yet,yer grim ranks o conifers
Tak on the west wun's jinglin spurs
An bield the life that blinks an stirs,
That steys alert,
Deep in yer hert,
Rowed in its feathers,scales an furs.
 
Top o the rig,that's whaur ye bide
Surveyin West Lothian wi pride...
Ye're whaur its last rid squirrels hide...
Oor bairns are nourished
Bi you,Great Forest
Hie- water mairk o Nature's tide
 
But noo alas ye'll hae tae greet
As,perchin shoogly on yer seat
Ye gove taewart yer ain defeat...
Nae langer chief
O Twig an Leaf,
Main trustee o ilk wuidlan treat...
 
Look, ah'm no bein smert,uncouth,
Jist tak a wee glence tae the Sooth,
Jaloose whit maks me shape ma mooth --
See Caledon
At last reborn
Bein coaxed back tae its saicont youth!
 
It's WITCHCRAIG tunes ma wuidlan flute;
There monie the youthfu twistin root
Pumps tea an toast tae ilk new shoot,
Present synopses
O glades an copses
Framin the forest's future fruit...
 
O aik an holly,alder,rowan,
An siller birks aw sweetly growin
Makkin thon west wun wonner hou an
Auld bit brae
Cin seize the day
An gie it sic new life tae chow on.
 
Pagoda first,then here's the brae,
`A puckle steep,pal,'some micht say
But them that's pechin shuid delay
Fir they'll be nursed
Wi Simmer's hairst
O mountain berries ,sherp an blae.
 
An while they're munchin, let their een
Look ower the dales,aince submarine
Noo kirtled in ilk shade o green
Then rest their gaze
Upon the braes
O Arran( gin their sicht's that keen!)
 
Noo tae the rig whaur kestrels spree
Up frae the whummelt-ower beech tree
(Bairns sclim here -- it's compulsory)
Then nae mair stops
Until the top's
Museum o Geology!
 
Noo Big Bee,spare yer peengie sneer
Neither lament wi dreepin tear
Nor droon yer angst in peaty beer:
Swallie yer scunner
An wish fir a hunner
Witchcraigs in Scotland year upon year!.
 
Davie Cunningham

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

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All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no 281

Saturday 6 July 2019, 21:40

The Foreshore Shaman

 

Enter through yellow eye

into bird mind of

the foreshore shaman.

Come inhabit the spaces

between water

earth and sky.

 

How long have you got?

I’m just biding my time

sitting still, tuning in.

 

Listen to the wind;

wave pulse, lapping

on stone. Feel, sun

and moon movements.

 

Observe worlds formed

in rock pools, constellations

of barnacles, breathe in

sea salt air.

 

I see through reflection

beyond the mirror.

 

Sense the movement

that precedes

the moment, to

 

step forward

stop time, poised

with calm intent

to pierce the void.

 

In one movement:

from the depths

a fish –

 

Ensō !

 

                                               ≈≈≈

Murdo Eason

View our full map of Scotland in Poems as it grows »

For instructions on how to submit your own poems, click here

All poems from our Poetry Map of Scotland  are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet's permission.

Categories: Poetry Map