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. 178: Nr Loch Eil

Sunday 10 May 2015, 18:10

On Stob Coire a'Chearcaill

We have followed orchestrated funerals and cried
Behind empty coffins with the truth cast aside.
Now the wake is over, we know they’ve never died.

Bundled up behind clouds fumbled in a circle,
Rumbling over the snow on Stob Coire a'Chearcaill,
Here comes alive and well the voice of your people.

It’s the voice of the Gaels, with stories, tunes and tales.
Listen, the silent bells are ringing through the hail,
Hear the surge of the sea behind this human swell.

And the Ocean thunders up the loch’s meanders,
From the sands of a bay waves drench your heart in spray.
It’s the voice of the Gaels, they are alive and well.

Turn to the mountainside where names forever dwell.
No need to flee and hide like the old Book of Kells.
I heard you sing their words. With silent joy I cried.

Sarah Yann Fanet

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. 177: Califer Hill, nr Forres

Monday 4 May 2015, 09:11

On Califer

Squinting west in blinding glare,
serrated sky-line stark,
the silhouetted distant hills,
stand colourless and dark.

Much closer, but still miles away,
Nairn burgh, proud and old;
tall spires beyond the forest stand,
pale ceiling blue and cold.

Light-curtains lap on Cluny Hill,
soft, sun-kissed, velvet green.
Dark Culbin broods on Moray shore,
with Forres in-between.

A ship ploughs west for Inverness,
as dark seas heave and toss,
lonely clouds graze snow-bright hills
across in distant Ross.

Kinloss stands silent, no planes fly,
its days of glory past,
Findhorn’s churning windmills proud,
Withstand the winter’s blast.

Descending geese head for the bay,
wide-circling as they fall,
long low shadows stalk the land
where glinting glass specks crawl,

and in the east the heavens dark,
from black, descend to grey,
there Burghead harbour wall appears
through pounding mist and spray.

On Califer, in biting wind,
snow-flakes begin to fly,
wan winter sun, obscured by clouds,
fades in the shivering sky.

 

Andy Allan

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. 176: Strathmiglo

Sunday 3 May 2015, 16:07

Strathmiglo

Spring has returned to your village, and with it
the swifts, their wingtips almost brushing my ears
when I get down at the bus-stop by twilight,
resuming their nests beneath the cottage eaves.

For months, the back rooms in your house grew dingier
once the sun dipped behind that dead volcano,
so we kept one another warm, our fingers
playing arpeggios as if on a piano

along each other’s ribs. At other times
I could only strike discords: days when the pain
that had lain dormant gripped you like bad dreams,
deeper inside than I had ever been.

At dawn I lie awake beside you, and watch
as, under the oval of each closed lid, your eyes
flicker in sleep like chicks about to hatch:
when their time comes to open, they’ll sing, and fly.

Henry King

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. 175: Glasgow

Sunday 3 May 2015, 08:04

G for Glasgow

Gallus, gritty, golden, gruesome
gigantic green-spaces and grubby (back)greens
greetin’-faced googooers and gin-sodden grannies
glad-eyed goolie-grabbers and gullible gals
gentleman gangsters and gash-faced gang-members
geared-up ganja-smokers and giant-hearted gift givers
garlic-breathed gluttonists and groovy gig-goers
Green goalscorers and Ger’s goalies (or vice versa)
G12-dwellers and Govanites
Garngad grandfaithers and Garrowhill glamourpusses
gap-toothed geezers and gossipy gasbags
ginger-heided gits and ginger-heided goddesses
glass-eyed gogglebox-watchers and gabby gobshites
golden gents, good girls, glorious grandparents
grateful Glasgwegians, guid glorious Glesga.

gonnae no dae that gonnae no
games-a-bogey

 

Aileen Jardine

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. 174: Edinburgh

Saturday 2 May 2015, 08:32

City Chambers Masquerade

I

A member of the council recites a poem by Robert Burns,
in the stomach of the city an immense conundrum churns.
In doorways beggars faces bleed an odd contentment,
there are eyes inside of clouds, there are things no eyes cement.

This the western mystery, a memory commenced at night
threatens to dissipate in light
that streams from centreless interiors, creeping thru words
of love and madness and the perjuries of diamond hearts.
An emancipation stops and starts

and stops to bitter, deep agendas. Japanese tourists photograph
the Scott monument, Thomas Campbell’s statue, the Cenotaph.
A sign of some hurricane eclipse of the moon collides with stone walls.
A silence deep as death, struggling for breath, rises, falls.

Things anomalous float in the sediments of justice,
in a night without dreams that comes constantly descending
from parapets undying, from unparalleled cryptic domes.
A procession of cars without passengers or drivers
moves with a strange intent, as if trying to stop these days

from devolving into hours then into seconds where only
intolerance is tolerated.  The psychic stench of flowers
circulates through cracks and grates, the open windows
through which is seen no face but the countenance
of that which claims we’re all the same.  Chronometers of the lonely,

birds on the heads of statues, children still in wombs,
trumpets of them and us, harmoniums of him and her,
simultaneously let slip an illusory exterior.
Countless times I’ve been here yet it feels like the first time,
half a foreigner, half a citizen, is there stairs that I must climb?
Leading to some colonnade adorned with demons, bards and angels.

It is the mind that is electric, it is the body sung that’s limp.
I know it through these streets, these deathless throughfares
where god-forsaken imps partake of questionairres.
I hear so many people talk into their phones
about humanists with guns and the blessings of the drones.
Amid litanies of survival, amid reversible religions,
can patriotism save my soul?  Is it time to feed the pigeons?

II

The 25th of January, drunk on whiskey in the Horseshoe bar,
I beseech the ghosts of Burns and Crane, Emerson and Poe,
they do not seem to hear, in the corner a blue guitar
sounds carefully a nothingness, one that seems to grow

until the voices of the patrons quickly blend into one voice,
saying for one to die, one first must be conceived.

A new history looms
like a giant prehistoric bird squawking a bewitching indolence,
a group of men get out their brooms and sweep,
there's whispers of Amen, a kind of quantum leap, a secret rocking to and fro.

Who are these undeserving beneficiaries?
Some are amphibians, some are participants in a new false state of being.

Some are concentrated mirrors immersed in unreflecting.
Some are gods escaping to sub-basements.

III

Queens Park at 9 am, I walk a black dog,
children and their mothers gather round the petting zoo,
the animals too nervous, they are best inside their cages,
in their cages everything is true.

The daffodils are out, young loves float in the residuum of Spring,
thru a weightlessness that weighs old men go a roving,
all that is behind them now of their own imagining, half in tune they sing,

mind to mind, eye to eye,
walking through the buds that fall slowly from waking trees,
a voice demands they take off their hats and fall upon their knees,
but the old men are intimate with gravity,
they know the invisible is misperceived.

Somewhere in the deep grasses people emerge from pods,
birds so dark and foul, congregate, conspire,
leave me to dream or not to dream, or lock my mind in some ruin’d tower,
something is coming, silent as a mountain, invisible as music,
stars will hibernate in consecrated skies.

In the infancy of a fog,
I carefully turn the pages of a book whose name I can’t recall,
within it there are words like hunter and hunted,
simplicity, sleeplessness, murder.

Is it time to feed the swans?  Are there hours between these dawns?
Should I pour a soft refrain?  Assent?  Be sane?

 

Derek Brown

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. 173: Dumfries

Friday 1 May 2015, 10:06

Gullible

A wee bird telt me, the Galloway gulls are
faur an’ away oot o’ order every day.

These mad birds o’ Dumfries,
thieve yer sanny or yer piece.
An’ whit’s more am told,
unlike they gulls of old
these avian hoodies,
hae no respect fur yer goodies.
They skive aff wae yer lunch
an’ spatter a’ wae their gunge.

Oor local worthies held a summit,
Summat maun be done, ca’ the police.
Gie them an asbo at the very least.
Lock them up, shoot them doon,
fur darin’ tae dive bomb oan oor toon.

But the cheeky wee carrion carry oan
wae their natural proclivations,
deef to a’ their proclamations.

 

Theresa O’Hare

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