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. 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.

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Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 13: Clydebank

Sunday 27 July 2014, 10:20

Singer Factory

When four faces of the giant Singer clock,
with minute hands the size of two tall men,
crowned Kilbowie Hill
and women reeked of machine oil,
the factory warmed the Forth and Clyde canal
so steam rose from the water.

The story goes that a pet shop owner
poured his fancies into the Nollie.
Purple shubunkins, gold ranchus,
lavender telescope eyes,
red caporandas, orange lionheads
thrived in the warm waterway.

Boys, bored with squiggles of silver minnows,
came with nets and jam jars.
One caught a two pound goldfish
behind Garscadden police station
and kept it in the bath for weeks
until the family needed a wash.

Busloads came for a day out
to feed the fish on mouldy bread.
Rag-and-bone men hitched their horses
to the railings and left
with wee goldies in plastic bags
to trade for old clothes and threadbare linen.

When Singer closed, the canal froze.
Bankies scattered like a shoal of perch
escaping from a supermarket trolley.
Beyond landscaping and swans,
the flash of red Clydeside persists.
They are still here, swimming under the ice.

 

Eveline Pye

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.

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Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 12: Tanera Mor in the Summer Isles

Saturday 26 July 2014, 10:16

Touch Stone

He walks slowly
on a well-worn path
listening for the blackbird
and brushing past bracken
feels the warmth
of familiar stone
finds the sweet heat
of brambles hiding by the wall.
He picks clover and chews on summer,
kneels to search for sorrel
explodes its sweet acid
in his mouth.
Hears the music of
honey collectors,
gathers a bitter taste of mint.

 

Lesley May Miller

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.11: Glasgow

Friday 25 July 2014, 10:06

A Glasgow Story

Encouraged by escalating disposable incomes,
the rich rushed West to Gilmore Hill and Kelvingrove
looking for a more fantoosh kind of culture.

Escaping from the reek of poverty and filth,
they left behind the Trongate and Cathedral,
in the hope of making something of themselves.

Today Glaswegians breathe fresher air,
where the notion of class has been abolished
by the possibility of appearing to have it all.

The modern way for accredited congregations,
now that bankers do God’s work,
is the performance of ritual worship
at Silverburn, Braehead and Princes Square.

Communing in multi-culinary food halls,
hemmed in by designer-labelled bags,
we drink our fair trade coffee and forget,
we're not all Thatcher's bastards,
we're all Jock Tamson’s bairns.

 

Irene Hossack
from North Light, The Anthology of Clydebuilt 3 (July 2012)

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. 10: Arran

Wednesday 23 July 2014, 12:14

A LASS OF ARRAN

Margaret Elfrida    late of this parish
today the sea was really nice
busy early with the yachts and
keeps her eye still beaded

The morse of oystercatchers skim
the bay    she wants us to be kind
took the ferry from the fifties
on her green bench    anticipation

Of coffee   spent life looking out
islanded the sea reflects the sky
reflects the sea    against the harsh
winters    a savory snack before

Pondering something dark in her cardigan
arbitrarily followed    who kept a brood
her washday hands      sometimes a rule
in morals and mutton    frees the mind

For thought who sat at the last in
her old chintz chair    watching a selkie
bob and dive    while the common gull
on its platform    one concentrate

Of attention    whose eyes see all how
in out in out    and waking in the
lovely molten silver    the tide's slide
morning is best    like God indulgently

 

Stephen Waling
First published in Captured Yes (Knives, Forks and Spoons 2011).

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.

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Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 9: Edinburgh - Auld Reekie

Tuesday 22 July 2014, 11:28

Edinburgh, February, Night

We stampede through the Cowgate, nicotine
And tar oiling our breath, Auld Reekie’s ancient
Burn lingering, centuries on. In new lungs now,
Blackening fast: we smoke her in.
To Nicolson Street, a meeting of jeans and tights
Around the two am ATM under
Bright lights pupils wide, cash out, move on,
Cross streets without turning heads, the
Heads on the bus for Morningside turn
To see us running by, side-stepping
Sidewalks, trampling the dotting lines of streets,
Vein fire jetting us forward, jettisoning our
Days into the blank of night, the
Blight in our heads crashing out:
No route, just forward.

Joe moans outside Tesco’s,
Shutters closed, pounds on the window
Ah jist Let Me In, Ah jist wanna fag Let Me
Barnacled onto the shop.
We leave him on the tide,
Press into the heavy air, sirens somewhere,
Not here, we won’t hear them.
Princes Street’s a mess of neon and mannequins,
The homeless breathing clouds, it’s
Winter but we haven’t felt it,
We have gills for this kind of air, smoke it in.
Heat rises from us: we’re the animals
David Attenborough couldn’t explain,
In our pack, hunting maybe, gathering
Night in our pockets, eye sockets
Pounding now, heels pounding ground,
Let Me Let Me Let Me—

We summit Calton Hill, stop.
Arthur’s Seat looms,
Exhausted by dead fires.
The others slump onto the monuments as
I fumble my feet up, hit my knee
Hard on the half-erected Parthenon.
Scotland’s Folly.
Over the Firth the dawn dons her glittery robes,
Takes a drag of the new, shimmering sky.

We sigh, breathe her dewy scent into
Our singed lungs. Let her in.

Kathryn Ailes

Continuing our tour of Scotland in poems, we move on to Edinburgh with a flavour of the night life there.

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