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. 31: Castlebay, Isle of Barra

Monday 25 August 2014, 09:20

Star Of The Sea

“Refuge in grief, star of the sea”
“Pray for the wanderer, pray for me”

Tides and gusts that have crashed and howled for all our existence,
through lifetimes before ours, and before any life existed.
Against the wind everlasting and waves eternal,
stubbornly standing Kishmael's castle,
staunch and firm in steady fortitude,
against the ocean's incessant surges,
stony and stoic in the haven of the bay,

And above them all, on high, anchored on a hill,
is The Star Of The Sea.
Sanctuary,
in the truest sense of,
the word.

This tourist standing alone, solemn in its shadows,
safe and sound, in silent solitude, seeking shelter from the storm,
but there is no storm outside, or inside,
all is calm, still and serene,

even these wild westerlies seem mindful of the sanctity of this place,
as now their perpetual whistling, is just a confessional whisper,
outside stained glass windows, in hushed respectful reverence
this is as placid and perfect a peace, as any peace that I have ever known.

Uneasiness ebbs, tranquility flows, spirits they are raised,
harboured doubts are dashed, troubled waters oiled, worries washed away,
and I am immersed in it's past, it's glorious history and sorrowful mystery.
“Assuaged my sorrows and calmed my fears”.

recognised signs and familiar symbols, universal and iconic,
stronger and surer than any words in, English, Latin or The Gaelic,
statues and stations of the cross, give security, succour and solace,
so that on this windswept, isolated, distant place I am, for now, at home.
“guide of the wanderer, here below”

This is a place where faith has to be real. True.
Where fathers and sons set sail to cast their nets for days and nights,
seeking out the herring shoals through the dark Atlantic swells,
following a course, that was set for them.
“Eyes to the heavens, the ocean stars”

Here families of fishermen prayed together that they would stay together,
resolutely believing, in a miraculous reconciliation.
“and soothe with hope, our misery”

Here mothers gave thanks for the safe returns of stranded sons,
“Pray for thy children, Star of the sea.”
Here grieving widows prayed for the peaceful repose,
of their loved and lost souls.
“Pray for the mourner, Star of the sea”

And I pray too.
Hearing the same wind, the same waves
that they heard, as they prayed,
the same wind. and the same waves,
that they cursed, as they heard,
that their men,
would not be
coming home.

Shaun Moore

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

Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 30: Great Western Road, Glasgow

Sunday 24 August 2014, 09:10

negate the meat

the end of days are an eternal condition
always looping back
heavy with sign and portent.
He falls with the contours of the pavement,
letting the uneven footsteps guide his drunken compass
down hill and past the wrought iron fence.

Even though the sun shines you can't help
but feel the drowning vegetation
through your damp feet.
Follow
the flow of the water -
it must lead somewhere.

The way it presses against you. Almost
insidiously, like a creepy uncle.
His voice curls endless whisper to
negate
the
meat. These people are like
gaping flesh wounds. It isn't polite to look.
Also advisable to plug up your lugs with gauze
and Vaseline. Unfortunately, this attracts
attention.
You desperately need to hide yourself
in some way - if only for the benefit of
future generations. The fear
that these people work in television
is very tangible
and
you worry that the condition may
be infectious.

You knew a guy once - swallowed
up by the artisan cheese
crowd.
Only thing left of him
a memory. Skulked
the twittersphere for days
like a bad instagrammed meal.

He leaves quickly so
as not to be noticed.

The city doesn’t hum,
it creaks and moans.
Glasgow has real old bones
polished up real good
in the spirit of
homogenised milk.
Doesn’t mean you can’t smell it. That dust of living decades.

On the underground this smell condenses – almost pure vapours.
Catches you in the back of the throat. Hard not to gag.
Going around
and around
the circle line
feels like being sucked
through an unpleasant future.

Great Western road is straight as fuck.

Adam V. Cheshire

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. 29: Wigtown

Saturday 23 August 2014, 15:07

The Kissing Gate

Night bleeds into day as light expands
from the horizon. Grey dawn ripens
to a deep red before diluting,
surrendering
to the first heat. Slowly,
as the day grows, petals of light
unfurl on the gravel pathway
passing through the Kissing Gate.

As a gull circles its solitary tour
of the sky, the earth reaches out
with tongue, palate and breath.
Across the long
horizon, burnt colours of trees
shimmer beside rocks
covered in lichen, rocks
sculpted by wind and rain.

Hills, which retreated from glaciated
roundings, watched as steamboats
from Liverpool, schooners,
names and dates
became as much a part of Wigtown's
Bay's intricate scaffolding,
as the Covenanters executed by
drowning. Now night tides flood in

and wildfowlers smear mud on white faces
in the dark, windless morning. Religion
and beliefs are immersed
in the mud
discovering their own rhythms and tides.
History, like dust swirling
in disturbed air, eventually settles,
revealing the reality of people's lives.

 

Kriss Nichol

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Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 28: Sandyhills Bay

Wednesday 20 August 2014, 17:51

AT DOUGLAS HALL

Twice daily the tides are here, sometimes
Breenging shoreward like an army
Of small, mad angry locals,
At others, creeping in on tourist feet.
They are their own beginnings & endings,
Stories that tell themselves, borderline ballads
Of loss & finding, war cries or sobs
Or occasional lullabies, all midnight
And moonlight, tender vessels of tiny waves
Bringing shallow white words & drifting
Tributes ashore, washed up at
The very end & very start of it.

Stuart A. Paterson

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. 27: Lochaline

Tuesday 19 August 2014, 13:18

The Flocks of Lochaline

My neighbours are sheep,
they leave me wool on the fence
and save me the trouble of mowing the grass.

I pass them on the road –
they don’t wave or nod,
but they see me from the corners of their yellow eyes.

They lie in the road by the loch
defying the drivers in their cars.
Won’t shift.

Today I saw them step dainty
on the cattle grid,
toe-tip-toe on each spaced bar,
balancing steady as tightrope walkers,
crossing that barrier
meant to keep them in...

But now they’re out
and the wide beyond
is all before them.
Who knows where they’ll go,
or what they’ll do?

 

Jan Dean
This poem was previously published in The Penguin In Lost Property, Jan Dean & Roger Stevens (Macmillan 2014)

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

Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 26: Calgary Bay, Isle of Mull

Monday 18 August 2014, 15:11

Metaphorical Distance

Out at farthest focus, drifting, peaceful:
Green ladled with mauve like a healing bruise.
Light lies heavy on the horizon; chooses
To lean its languid body westward. The pull
Of the rolling planet quickens, and the full
Swelling, murmurous mass of the tide looses
The bonds of gravity, dropping the deep, pellucid,
Purpleness of light gracefully into the ocean’s well.

Dipping my toe into the water, gasping
At the cold, desiring to go deeper and far,
I stare outward along the long divide
Of the horizon: the waves on the sand rasping
At the edge of the land, my feet, my heart:
Like this sea-coloured bruise I am trying to hide.

Yvonne Marjot

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