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. 302

Thursday 14 May 2020, 19:35

Waiting


Kippers catapult me back
to Victorian hotels with huge
rain slashed vistas,
brittle toast and butter knobs,
sugar lumps like granite,
paintings of mouldering birds
on thick wallpaper.

I remember every kipper
but not so much the people,
though they certainly comprised
a bald man in a sports jacket,
decrepit car rusting outside,
and his wife, whose homeland
was hidden, like her,

in sad cloud
beyond the bay windows.
What did we even do
except order kippers
and stare silently at the sea?
I suppose we were waiting always,
for the weather to clear.

Hugh McMillan

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. 301

Wednesday 13 May 2020, 11:41

The Station

The beast arrives stealing the emptiness of the curving station,
hot breath,
rising steam,
wind, whispering secretly,
giving chase
stirring up sleep infused leaves
startled into wakefulness,
abruptly.
Gravity doesn't secure everything.
Discordant,
the quiet lifts bird like wings,
yellowed by the sun
throwing them at its evading form
converging in the dark of dusk
marrying night.
The moon hides behind clouds
gathering again
in a gray collage of the sky
assembling for prayers.
There's poetry in the snarl,
paws revving up the heart,
heat stoked action of the fuel
fingering ice in tunnels,
the slip, slap, slosh
quietly melting inside muscled pistons
ejecting the expired breath
as winter welcomes the beast
in the waiting emptiness of a station.

Shalini Pattabiraman

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 300

Tuesday 12 May 2020, 13:24

The Chimney Sweeper

We pause on our midsummer hike.
This wee black moth offers a shade,
a smudge of soot in the shifting sunlight
beside the Old Military Road.
He rests in shivering grasses
matt charcoal on a shiny stem,
wings fringed with a thin dusting of ash.
And now, quick shimmy of taffeta, he’s off
to perform a delicate strathspey,
his evening dress, like some black-coated Goth,
discordantly elegant on the bleak moor.

Were you dancing then, Chimney Sweeper,
when Caulfeild’s men smashed stones
to build this road, and redcoats marched
to break the Highlands,
or when the bonnie prince rode by
to Inverlaidnan house, that’s now a ruin?
Did they pause on this track, those violent men,
spotting the smoky blackness of your wings,
your small, uncanny shadow on the grass
and, like us, more pensively
continue on their way? 

Sheila Lockhart

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. 299

Monday 11 May 2020, 16:53

Crawick Multiverse

I was an open cast mine,
bones broken, cast away
when black gold teeth
were all extracted.
An industrial wasteland
of slag transversing nature.

I am a phoenix -
the art of new beginnings
at my heart -
songs that reshape landscapes
of infinity
and stardust in my mouth.

Walk my corkscrewed paths,
stand with your feet
on earth and rocks,
let your head reach up
to starspace, black holes,
galaxies.

Then find your own place
in the cosmos.
This is the right order of things,
this architecture of wonder;
a multiverse in a verse,
a universe in a word.

Caroline Johnstone

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. 298

Friday 8 May 2020, 16:28

Dalmore Days


Somewhere
between Shawbost and Carloway
the slow skelp of weather from the west
surrounds us.

The mood of the sea shifts:
one minute basalt black Atlantic,
the next cupric Caribbean green.

The river is a slick greasy with peat
or a crystal clear flood.

Rocks exposed long ago
by some ancient convulsion
worthy of a Calvinist apocalypse
slowly erode in winter storms
or bake in summer suns.

One thing remains constant: a child's delight,
reckless, capricious,
where events of epic significance unfold
and are then instantly forgotten,

unless, perhaps, unexpectedly recalled, much later
during a sudden reperfusive shock of memory
in a brief moment of clarity in old age,

and pure, un-self-conscious joy matches the forces of nature
where everything ebbs and abates
yielding to everything else
and yet endures

somewhere between Carloway and Shawbost.

"I want time to stand still" mother says, while father
tries to gather every precious moment in his camera
like a beach comber,
the futility of his task alleviated by a grace
that gradually exerts itself in this place.

Peter Clive

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 297

Monday 4 May 2020, 12:15

We walk along the beach at Golspie,
young Finn and I.
Finn is flying my ladybird kite,
a fiftieth birthday present.

The wind drops.
The kite drops.

Finn rescues the kite from the waves.
I reel up the string
and wrap it in the sails,
and cram the kite into the orange draw-string bag.

We head back down the beach,
gathering limpet shells with holes
into my green woolly hat.
Finn scours the strand,
whooping with each new find.

On a table in the front bedroom,
of our main door tenement flat,
I array the shells in order,
from largest to smallest,
and string them onto a length of leather cord.

In the museum basement,
in a glass fronted box,
on the left forearm of a man of bronze,
is a bracelet:
each bead whittled from sea bleached bone,
in a northern island village of stone
some five thousand year ago.

Who made the bracelet?

Greg Michaelson

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