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. 19: Ailsa Craig

Saturday 2 August 2014, 13:07

Paddy’s Milestane

Beyond Culzean’s daurk cliff
Past Girvan Water’s urge,
The black crag o Ailsa soars above
The wild Atlantic surge

A seal head, thrust above the tide,
Clyde’s rush to integration,
A stane tae mark in silhouette
The lang sea miles o emigration.

The passage o the dispossessed
As Glasgow bound they sailed
Never tae return tae the Roisin Dubh
When the tattie harvest failed

For years men sailed across the Firth
Tae bring its granite treasures hame
Tae shape an polish them till fit
Tae grace the Roarin Gemme

When, bloodied frae the tangled nets
Hauns sair frae cauld an rain
Thanfu, the skipper tirns the wheel
Heads back fur shore again.

A lightness fills his weary heart
When ther across the Firth
The licht oan Ailsa’s soarin rock
Points the wey back tae his berth.

George McEwan

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. 18: Cramond

Friday 1 August 2014, 09:50

Cramond Island

 

When families with dogs have gone

back to their Morningside retreats

and waves begin to slap away

at Leith's reflections on the flats

the punks and drunks turn out

to watch the stars.

 

Among the shadowed concrete cones

their tide slips with a glossy sheen

where mussel blue dips into brown

and Forth asserts its in-between:

here punks and drunks are lords

and rising stars.

 

Beyond the headland gorse, a spot

where hours before, kids unwrapped lunch;

now violence bursts like nebulae

in green and white of laugh and crunch.

The feet of punks and drunks

grind out new stars.

 

Where stripped-out gun-emplacements gawp

at ships that chug where no-one cares

while burned pill-boxes shield the snap

and flash of cigarette-lighter flares,

the punks and drunks summon

their shook-foil stars.

 

Julian Dobson

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. 17: Ben Donich

Thursday 31 July 2014, 11:34

Ben Donich

 

Each climb to the high places brings

a question: will I come again?

The wind blows, the crow swoops by

on silent wings, upcurved and still

on the flying air, and I no longer

earthbound feel the soaring

and wonder when the flight will end.

The spacious air mocks this

introspection, calls me to

the briefly precious moment

on this thin-earthed crag

where the rock glints hard in the

noonday sun and the fool’s gold

shines at my fingertips

and the downward path curves

into the purple afternoon.

 

Christine McIntosh

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. 16: Ben Rinnes

Wednesday 30 July 2014, 13:33

The angels’ share

A view from Ben Rinnes

An artist’s sky like blue-stained glass
stretched the length and breadth of Strathspey,
so even before the tasting at Glenfarclas
this was a fine spring day.

Then after appraising the ten-year-old malt,
the fifteen, the twenty-one, the fabulous thirty . . .
the snow-flecked patches on the higher hills
summoned me up towards the sky’s azure vault.

The Green Burn drains its snowmelt
plus a hint of peat off Ben Rinnes in the east,
begging to be mashed with barley and yeast
and magicked in oak casks by the hand of time.

The Ben’s bold peak on a day such as this
stands out from afar in all directions: Ben Wyvis,
Mount Keen, Cairngorm and Lochnagar –
I shall see all these hills from its pointed tor.

There’s a zest and tang in the crystal air.
A thin haze of peat, pine and malt over Speyside
ascends to heaven. Is this the angels’ share,
rising on countless larks’ wings, pride upon pride?

The angels’ share is whisky lost over years
by seepage, evaporation and distillers’ tears.
It’s the difference between what is yielded up
by the uncasked barrel and what once went into it.

The haze over Speyside isn’t any old haze:
it smokes from Glenlivet, Macallan, Tamdhu,
Chivas Regal, Tomintoul, Glenallachie, Cardhu,
Glenfiddich, Aberlour, Knockando (to mention a few).

Caperdonach, Ben Riach, Tormore and Longmorn,
Balvenie, Glen Moray and Mortlach: on and on.
This is a world-class distillation from any point of view,
a roll-call to tempt any angel’s discrimination.

Sitting by the trig point on Ben Rinnes
I survey all of the above and more,
inhaling an almost celestial panorama,
the air thick with larks and angels.

Gordon Jarvie

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. 15: Stromness

Tuesday 29 July 2014, 20:26

Warbeth Walk

The air is thick
and quickens your breath
foam rushes like blood.

What’s death?
Tombstones, planted bookmarks.

Salt rubs the wounds
of letters.

Your feet push back the earth
legs spring like flight.

Oystercatchers pose on granite
blue light washes the fields.

So live for the fear of drowning in seascape
the end of words –
the black-and-white forking of tongues.

To speak like the raven
or sing like the curlew
feasting on what the shore offers.

To plunder deep into liminal space
for fish-meat and sustenance.

What’s grace?
A lapwing song in a dark field

An empty stomach
filled with the smell of seaweed
and cattle

The curve in the road
where you listen for starlings…

You climb the last hill
walking backwards
to face the sea.

Then the wind whips you round
to the orange-glow windows of home.

Nalini Paul

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. 14: Pabbay, Sound of Harris

Monday 28 July 2014, 10:22

After the Shearing, Pabbay

The last kettle of the day,
not hurried exactly
but with an eye to the tide.

Nobody is saying much.
It’s been a long haul
wrestling with Cheviots in the sun
and these are men
who let words ripen inside
before offering them up.

Looks like Aonghas Ailig
is rolling a cigarette, not easy
with the tremor in his shearing hand.
And there’s Coinneach Iain Sheonaidh,
lean and true as his own shepherd’s crook,
watching the sheep stream away
from the fank
past the ancient burial stones
of Teampull Mhoire.

Any minute now,
my father will empty his cup
with a flick of the wrist,
throw a crust to the dogs, a sign
to start moving
down to the boat.

Time to give the island back
to its sheep and its deer,
to the fretting seabirds;
time to let shadows slide back
into their own spaces.

 

Maggie Rabatski

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