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. 310

Friday 29 May 2020, 13:59

A River-Spate

One short stream, crossing the moors and fields
of Galloway, favoured by greyback salmon
and the anglers who go after them, calls out,
demanding fame equal to that of any Rubicon,
or Thames, or Huang Ho, or Amazon, or Clyde,
or other river of the world:
the Urr.
                                                           Here
Clerk Maxwell had his nursery and school,
and found a wide universe to picture, number,
write and read.
                             Here
modern thought changed course
because of him, and gathered speed.

Downstream, and under a bridge,
out of sight, then seen once more,
the boy’s dropped paper-boat performed
an agile bob and swerve.
Dipper-like,
it echoed the sea-ward progress
of the River Urr.

The boy looked hard,
as he always would.
his sharp mind running on,
until he fully understood.

What’s the go o’ that?
he asked, regarding everything.
Finding an answer became his passion,
and a growing skill.

Out from the valley of his childhood years,
he travelled boundlessly through libraries and labs,
aiming always further than the tangible,
the visible, the near.
Dæmon-like, he circumnavigated space,
riding the flow of Nature’s powers.

Death could not halt Clerk Maxwell’s thought.
At quickening rate,
it runs through others’ lives,
re-writing how phenomena are seen,
changing the world, a river-spate.

David Betteridge

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. 309

Wednesday 27 May 2020, 17:57

Sunday Sounds (A Sequence)

Sunday Sounds

Sunday sounds were subtle, sleepy, soothing.
Where was that grim, day of shops-shut gloom
angry Scottish writers claim to remember?
I never knew it. Just a slow, soft peace
broken by church bells and the clatter
of footballs on concrete.  If there was a sense
of dread, it was that the weekend was ebbing.
School tomorrow.

Few cars then, especially on a council scheme.
You really heard spring bird-chatter, the
lazy summer insect-buzz and the wicked hiss
of Dunbartonshire rain. The whisper of breeze
through the plane tree at our back door
was silenced when it became firewood
during the miners’ strike.

At six a tremulous chime shimmered across town,
a subtle melody that seemed to come from the sky.
A recording, not struck from living metal,
it still spoke of cold stone abbeys, cloisters
and monk-murmured Latin. ‘It’s the Angelus,’
our Catholic friends told us.
‘It means God will come, has come.’

Weekday Sounds

Workdays began with hooters filling the same space
the Angelus had taken up, calling people
to the factories. Our windows hummed and
shook as the local bus thundered past.
Foundry roaring as liquid iron was alchemised
into telephone boxes and bus shelters and bandstands.
The fire siren wailed, a sound all longing and loss.
Older faces grew serious with remembrance.
The same siren had heralded bombers groaning,
heavy with death, towards Clydebank.

Goods trains, metal fire dragons, belched hot
steam and smoke with an animal gasping
while toy green diesel passenger trains passed,
silent and smooth, gently farting exhaust fumes.
The teams emerged at Adamslie Park with the clatter
of studs on cement. We followed the hollow impact
of boot on ball or shin, shielding our eyes from
the low winter sun and roaring when our team scored.

New Sounds

The trains have gone. The foundry is silenced.
Adamslie Park is no more. If the Angelus still beckons,
it’s drowned by traffic and the thudding of dance beats
spilling from pubs and clubs. Today’s young people
will never hear these sound-signals. Yet I arrived too late
to hear the clatter of colliery winding gear
or the surf-splash as new-built boats slipped
into the canal.

Our world will always change. So will the sound it makes.

 

David McVey

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. 308

Tuesday 26 May 2020, 15:20

Tay Road Bridge    

Long and swift
You glide past
Quickly glancing
Oil rigs, seagulls, bikes.

Now joining
In grand silence
City and Kingdom
Points of ongoing return.

An emblem
Of ideas
Wildly changing
How we see our place.

Grasping sea
As undertow
And grumbling swirls
Claim your feet.

You hold fast
Through traffic,
Speeding trucks
Wrong turn fools.

Postcard sunsets
Frame your arms
Outstretched
Holding faith.

Lost ferries,
Loves and hopes
Midnight leaps
To Hades' depths.

While new days
Offer hope
Meetings kindled
Quick trips planned.

A wonder
Like your nearby sister
Who curves to greet you
Tay Road Bridge.

Susan P. Mains

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. 307

Monday 25 May 2020, 14:16

Dead drop gorgers

Today at St. Abb's cliff guillemots perch,
lean and lurch, just as if,
wanting the wind, all skew-whiff,
dead men drop down off a skiff.

David Bleiman

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. 306

Friday 22 May 2020, 15:11

The Suspension Bridge
(aka The South Portland St Pedestrian Bridge, 1853)

Swaying unsteadily along from Clyde St to the Gorbals
out across the murky river:
you really can't get much more Glasgow - it belongs.

The Corporation's stuck red lights on it, some working:
so it's New Glasgow now,
which is to say a little tacky, cheerful and just about surviving.

Those cables zooming: zip-line, circus-act, jive-dance-swing,
a leap of faith, that unexpected grace.
Like Glasgow, it all looks a bit precarious but never just pedestrian.

That parabolic swoop of wire following the graph of history
the city's soaring ups, its dizzying downs,
that hesitation at the mid-point - until it starts on up again.

Bridges always lead you on, trace skyward lines, tend to hyperbole,
especially Glasgow's: the cables' smiley grin
flogs visions of that other side where it'll all be miles better.

The future's bright, forget the past: the city's vaulting aspiration:
"all kidology: y'er jokin'!"
This hopefulness of bridges, it'll break your heart in time.

Observe, bright-eyed, the weight of padlocked pledges
securing what little that they can.
Folk leaning out to drop the keys, straining like their promises.

The city's stories dangle here, above the stream, beyond
the surge and fret of time,
with all their hoped for futures hanging in the balance.

Find thus life's quiet site of always in-between, its limen:
you're never home but here.
This is Glasgow's cross-roads, way-station, place of prayer.

So at the mid-line, where the cables dip to their nadir, pause -
held suspended, shed what you can.
Unburdened of regret, find how your pace might quicken.

The faint bounce underfoot, the spring inserted in your step:
the sense of being open to uncertainty.
The half-glimpsed optimism of a suspension bridge. 

Robin Leiper 

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. 305

Thursday 21 May 2020, 16:42

Bandstand, Nairn

Not strummed, trumpeted
or banged with a drum –
other strains flow from it now
despite the silence.

The bands disappeared,
blown over the firth,
but the bandstand remains,
its form composed
as logos, calendars,
Facebook pages,
watercolour paintings,
and oils;

and they make prints
in limited editions
without end.

Now there’s a tune.

James Andrew

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