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. 325

Thursday 16 July 2020, 17:10

The Falkirk Wheel

For Phillip

Each gondola could carry a herd of a hundred elephants.

They visit in the summer months,
swaying their heads at foreign plains,
the Grangemouth flare unsettling
in the distance, until

there comes a moment
when, together with the sun,
they catch the glinting eye,
of one or other horse’s head. And stop

their muddy wallowing
in the Forth and Clyde canal,
their trumpeting old tales
of umbrella stands and ivory.

They walk in single file,
silent in their padding
of a soft grey line — straight
to the metalled-wild of Kelpies.

There all one hundred of them kneel,
rest their trunks down
on the grass
and pray.

They say the zebras sent them,
ask the spirits for a spell
to make the rain again at home —
bring the water back to their Savannah.

Then, their pilgrimage well done,
the time is theirs —
they climb aboard,
give the wheel a whirl.

Alison Cohen

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. 324

Thursday 16 July 2020, 10:36

Joan Eardley’s Catterline

Ah’am drawn tae the coastal cliffs
that Joan Eardley wis wedded tae
in her final days,
afore life wis cut short.

Though the sun shines
in the pale ultramarine sky
the wind whips at the waves
that begin way aff at the horizon
an keep comin till they’ve collided
wi the cliffs, sculptin them
into caves an rock formations.
As an efterthoucht it scours ma face.

There’s nae a soul aroon for miles
an ah can sense on a dreich day
as she looked oot fae the Watchie
the seagulls cawin
could become as oppressive

as the poverty o street urchins
in her Glesga slums.

Further on at the edge
o Fowlsheugh’s precipice
the air is thick wi new life.
There are kittiwakes an puffins
an ma favourites the guillemots.
They are perched on tiny ledges
facin inti the scarp,
like they hiv come tae worship,
at the wailin waa.

Ah lean ower tae tak a closer look
hooked in by the shimmer
o the black broon colour
made famous by Van Gogh,
fa Joan wis often likened tae.

Their burnt umber plumage
like oiled velvet
wi the fine white lines
runnin fae aboon their een
tae the tips o their beaks
as if they’ve been drawn on
by a wee quine
jist tae mak them even bonnier.

Like missiles they dive tae the sea
an mak haste their return, tae feed their young
for fear the fulmars will raid their nests,
like the vikings, fa came afore,
pepperin oor tongue wi pagan words
an namin these foul gulls
that fill the air wi stinky spit.

Beyond the urgent din o the birds
the cliffs themselves share
millions o years in the layers
o volcanic rock an reid sandsteen,
wi pitted boulders sandwiched in atween
covered wi emerald green moss
that turns a shade o cadmium
as it sclims up the face
an intae ither centuries

becomin theday, far the rise o the sea
lays mair an mair claim tae its’ history.

As ah mak ma wye back tae Catterline
ah find mysel cairryin a wee prayer
for the coastline
that pressed itsel tae Joan’s hert.

Lesley Benzie

Note: Joan Eardley (18 May 1921 – 16 August 1963) was one of the UK’s most popular 20th century artists. She has been recognised for her portraits of Glasgow street children and landscapes of Catterline, a fishing village on Scotland’s north-east coast. The Watchie was the name of her studio, an old cottage overlooking the sea.

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. 323

Wednesday 15 July 2020, 17:45

Balquhidder, Blessing of Angus

“Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you look to your left
you’ll see the spot called ‘Beanach Aonghais’
where, they say, St Angus, our patron saint,
first gazed up the valley. And seeing
these fine woods, fertile plains,
steep, shapely braes sloping
to sparkling waters - seeing such loveliness
he knelt and laid
his gentle benediction on the land.
And just round the corner
at Auchtoo farm we come to … ”

A filthy day in dark age Breadalbane. Gales
howl down the glen. A sky all cloud.
White horses on the loch. A clawing downpour.
On a hillock a figure, weighted
by his sodden robes, red face
and bald pate rain-lashed, shakes his crosier,
facing down the storm, and as it grows
he howls the louder,
hurling back at it
his indefatigable obstinacy.

Yes, they were tough buggers, the old tonsured ones,
their curses were brutal, their temper legendary
and when they blessed a place, it stayed blessed.

Donald Goodbrand Saunders

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. 322

Wednesday 15 July 2020, 11:02

Brodick Old Quay

flood tide
a flash of silver
in the otter’s mouth

Gillian Dawson

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Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 321

Tuesday 14 July 2020, 15:25

Faces Land, North Ellen Street, Dundee

Here in Visage Land
all the gargoyles, spouts, grotesques
have flown from their buttresses
in a rooftop flit
leaving the haunt of ecclesiastics
to down-size in old age
closer to the shops.
Bereft of holy observances,
they stare uneasily
from this tenement block.
It will take time before
they find their feet
in a place as new as this.
 
Neil Leadbeater

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. 320

Tuesday 23 June 2020, 14:13

Windows Lit in the Evening
 
What are these houses about?
Why are they there at all?
And why when they turn on the lights
they close the blinds?
If you carefully peek through
there are people cooking
or resting
TVs on
confronted by empty couches
toys laid on the floor
coats, scarves carelessly hung somewhere.

Why are the people having windows looking to the fields
if they close the blinds at sleep?
What’s the view of their dreams
if not a valley
lit in the sunshine
and lit in the sunsets;
a topic to write about.

The mist is touching on the ground
harvesting the soil
growing itself to shapes of imagination
and hallucination
as they are seen
focused-less
behind steamed-up windows
underneath the numbing lights.

By the time sun breaks in
the ghostly figures will have disappeared
as they always do
leaving behind
hunted minds
moist land
and numb feelings.

Eleni Kotsira

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