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. 44: Lerwick

Friday 12 September 2014, 09:43

When it rained glass in Lerwick

Glass is falling from the sky
and like a particularly determined pigeon,
it is finding its way to land on
windscreens and wing mirrors.
It is volcanic too, and I wonder
if that means it will bend its less mobile
siblings into intriguing new shapes;
or at least leave better-than-average pockmarks.
I’m sure the humble worker glass,
all functional transparency and straight edges,
longs to be blown and stained, so it too
can be a vessel for rapture.
I mean, who wants to be seen through
when you can be adored.

Rishi Dastidar

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. 43: Wood of Cree

Wednesday 10 September 2014, 09:53

Murmuration

The starlings lean
like woodsmoke on the fields,
and blow away.

Bedded in leaves the Wood of Cree
aches in the gale
and sleepwalks into winter.

Rain maps the hills.
Our roaming thoughts
drain down to silt.

Your house is filled with hollow coats.
The mice climb in the walls,
familiar ghosts.

The starlings start to tilt,
they make an end, pull out their stitches,
fold, descend.

Jean Atkin

(First published in ‘Not Lost Since Last Time’, Oversteps Books, 2013)

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. 42: Sule Skerry

Wednesday 10 September 2014, 09:41

The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry

An earthly nourrice sits and sings,
And aye she sings, ‘Ba, lily wean!
Little ken I my bairn’s father,
Far less the land that he staps in.’

Then ane arose at her bed-fit,
An’ a grumly guest I’m sure was he:
‘Here am I, thy bairn’s father,
Although that I be not comèlie.

‘I am a man, upo’ the lan’,
An’ I am a silkie in the sea;
And when I’m far and far frae lan’,
My dwelling is in Sule Skerrie.’

‘It was na weel,’ quo the maiden fair,
‘It was na weel, indeed,’ quo’ she,
‘That the Great Silkie of Sule Skerrie
Suld hae come and aught a bairn to me.’

Now he has ta’en a purse of goud,
And he has pat it upo’ her knee,
Sayin’, ‘Gie to me my little young son,
An’ tak thee up thy nourrice-fee.

‘An’ it sall pass on a simmer’s day,
When the sin shines het on evera stane,
That I will tak my little young son,
An’ teach him for to swim his lane.

‘An’ thu sall marry a proud gunner,
An’ a proud gunner I’m sure he’ll be,
An’ the very first schot that ere he schoots,
He’ll schoot baith my young son and me.’

— trad.

suggested by Ian Blyth

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. 41: Arduaine

Tuesday 9 September 2014, 10:49

Mourning in Arduaine

A cool mercury light,
Water pulling sky to sea,
That soft grey sympathy
Of water and stone.

Shuna, small and jagged,
Echoed, with variations,
By Luing.
Seil a faint fond shadow
Embracing them both.

Each made of the same stone
And not quite fitting
Like broken jigsaw pieces
Like family.

Each an island
Holding to itself
But part of an archipelago.

Even when the rain
Tears you from the horizon
I know you are there:
I can feel the shape of your shores
Through the currents that reach mine.

Ellen McAteer

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. 40: Luing

Wednesday 3 September 2014, 09:03

Luing

For Irene Malchaski

A flying carpet
carved
from the memory of rust
corrodes me across
the eroding flow
to Luing.

Luing,
the signage pensively proclaims,
is
“A place to think-
A place to be”.

Well,
isn’t that true
of everywhere?
Unkind to the ferry
my words
may have been
but a deeper corrosion
is in these words
that scamper away
from meaning
from fear
of what that meaning
might reveal.

Today
I find it
a place to think
of being wet
and a place
to be -
wet

as the asphalt-tortured snake,
its sole remaining fang
fossilised
in a whitewashed trig point in the north;
its trig point rattle
in the distant south
a remnant of that time
when Scotland
was American
and Europe
and England
just a tale
to frighten children
who might some day
come to pass
and live here.

Or wet
as the bracken hillside,
scythed by Autumn tempests
like Campbells
at Inverlochy
beneath the Highland maelstrom
of MacDonald
and Montrose.

Or wet
as birch-capillaries
pulsing elixir
to the moss-green slopes
to feed the seeds
on that flesh
of leaves
passed
in the inevitable winds.

Here,
as anywhere,
all flesh is not grass
but it is,
very largely,
water
and
in this
it mirrors me.

But,
between the deluge
and the merely mist
that hangs
like flypaper
to catch what fate
may send
there is that western haze,
half-glimpsed
in the blue
of sea
and the green
of Luing
so far from the grey
of my life.

Roderick Manson

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. 39: Ben Nevis

Monday 1 September 2014, 09:13

The Ben on a Summer Solstice

Coy, lush meadow land
With purpled yellow flanks
lulling me upwards

Warmth from the day
perfumed and humid
sheening my skin

Tonight the moon
iridescent and close
will be my prize

Against obsidian skies
a mirrored pearl
will light my way

Over giants footsteps
I haul and scramble
damp stone ledges

With prayers for deliverance
Lochan an t-Suidhe gives me sanctuary
to contemplate the basalt heights

But you are Nibheis
the malicious one, the venomous one
your snaking path - deceptive and deceitful

You call the Gods of Wind and Snow
the storm carpets and roofs me
I am swallowed by the beast

No beacon light points home, no prize,
just the price paid for hubris.
Chastened and bruised and wiser,
steps heavy with sleep
I leave the mountain.

Jacqueline Leck

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