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 296

Thursday 30 April 2020, 19:33

The Low Road to Kinlochleven

White blankets slope down to the shore.
It’s morning, water glitters through the trees.
Winter will stay whitening the day.

From the isles to the ridge of Binnein Mòr.

Darkness now lifting, goldeneyes drifting,
Above the narrows thunder’s rumbled through the night

Water is falling, mountains are calling.

It’s the low road to Kinlochleven.

I‘ll find a house with empty rooms.
Light a fire and warm its heart out of the gloom.
Now I’m alive and I will drive,

Drive the low road to Kinlochleven.

Songs will now no longer feel the same,
No more room for torment fear and shame.
From Blackwater to the bridge they all call me by my name.

There was a goddess under my feet.

They stole her wooden body from the peat.
I‘ll carve her name on every tree.

On the low road to Kinlochleven

Abide with me, journey with me.
Let the goddess fill the glen with mystery.
We’ll write the story of life and glory
On the low road to Kinlochleven

Sarah Fanet

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 295

Wednesday 29 April 2020, 20:11

Dun a Mhuirich [An Excerpt] 
Upon visiting an excavation

Where did you come from, and how many?
Were you invaders or settlers?
Creeping up the loch in your stout leather boats,
Seeking safety, security in an unknown land.
Or looking to plunder and kill?
So you landed here, here where an outcrop of limestone
Made an easily defended position, sheer sided to the sea, steep to the landward side.
So you settle and defy anyone to move you on.

And a seagull cries.
The chink and clink of a trowel echoes off the hillside as it scrapes away at your stones and your bones.

Or did you come from out of the forest?
Moving restlessly on, looking for just the right place,
You’ll know it when you see it;
Driving your beasts, up at night guarding against wolves.
How unsafe you must have felt,
How exposed, as you forged on into the unknown;
Then, there, rising up beside the sea, a great thrusting rock, home.

And a seagull cries.
The chink and clink of a trowel echoes off the hillside as it scrapes away at your stones and your bones.

Then what? And how? And why?
We know where, we are looking at it now,
Asleep for hundreds of years, your place of safety,
Your fortress, it is being scrutinised,
Your every activity considered, your diet discussed,
Are your ears burning? Up there, out there.
We’ve answered what, a place of safety,
The how is something else.
When did you the boat people or you the travellers
Decide to build your walls?
Did someone want what you had?
Was this your ‘No! Bugger off, it’s mine’ statement?

And a seagull cries.
The chink and clink of a trowel echoes off the hillside as it scrapes away at your stones and your bones.

Did you start with stones from the shore?
Surely the easiest and quickest,
Hauling them up to the top in skin slings.
Was it enough? Did ambition call for more stone?
Did you quest along the shore?
Float them back on rafts?
So much easier than all that effortful humping along the beach,
With all the women as well, children snivelling, wanting to play.
Everyone carrying their manageable bit of safety.

And a seagull cries.
The chink and clink of a trowel echoes off the hillside as it scrapes away at your stones and your bones.

Would you have, could you have lived up there?
There is no water, so yet more effort to fill skin bags and heave them to the top.
You would only want to do it in an emergency,
Raiders heading up the loch, or tramping through the forest,
Fleeing up your hill to safety at the alarm.
Someone’s job to check the supplies for just such an event,
A not so able elder perhaps, needing to take their time.

And a seagull cries.
The chink and clink of a trowel echoes off the hillside as it scrapes away at your stones and your bones.

Where have you gone? Did you all die?
Drinking foul water? Disease? Killed by intruders?
Just fed up and moving on?
No trace now, or if so, yet to be found,
And people are looking, diligently and persistently looking,
They will find you if you are to be found.
They will breathe new life into your existence.
Destroy your privacy; show you to the gawping curious,
But you will have the last laugh,
You will always know, but they have only conjecture,
You left so very thoroughly, no whisper upon the breeze,
No scent upon the hearth. Grass to grass, rushes to rushes.

And a seagull cries.
The chink and clink of a trowel echoes off the hillside as it scrapes away at your stones and your bones.

Alexander Hamilton 

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. 294

Sunday 19 April 2020, 14:52

Maybole Beach

This is a beach
That few discover.
Unsigned, a secret
Down a branching lane,
Green at its approach with steep
Rock and hart's tongue fern,
A vast sea odour heralds it,
Waves whispering behind.

The foreshore breathes magic.
Waders seem tame. A wisp
Of cloud blurs the bewitching
Symmetry of Ailsa Craig.
Culzean Castle gleams atop its cliff,
Ochre, primrose, and old gold.
The wooded slopes shiver
With wind and birdsong.

Damaris West

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 293

Wednesday 1 April 2020, 09:45

Seven Stanzas for StAnza (2020)

I learned in-line rhym-
ing three beers from resolved to absolve,
where a bard in the bar
is worth twa in the Byre
and I guess you’re right: pace yersel.

I learned that flat white can be quiet
a crowd at an open mic can’t shout too loud,
as the mic is always too high or too low,
murmuration’s no measure of volume
and I know you’re right: watch yersel.

I learned that a shard in the foot
of a verse cuts me worse
than a razor clam out on West Sands,
single malt is no measure of volume
and of course you’re right: mind yersel.

I learned that it was time for bed
when the poet said “I don’t dance,
no really, I’m good”
though we knew that they would
and you’ll surely say: take a look at yersel.

I learned no one sings happy birthday
even once at the sink after twelve
and the gulls here crow free with the room
and coffee and coffee it bears repetition
though I know that you’ll say: well hell mend ye!

And like the bard said, it is time for bed,
but my poem which sings in the shower
doesn’t dance on the page
and still dies on the stage
and I hear you say: well I telt yer.

As I head for a beach that is harder to reach
where makars skim stones whistling
sand in their shoes breaking waves of
lucidity down at the blade of the drinkers’
moon, I am cutting this line about what you might say
in the light of advice at a workshop.

David Bleiman

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 292

Tuesday 31 December 2019, 15:39

Midnight In Stranraer

Oyster catcher hour
in the midnight port,
delving sleekit through
thick velvet blackcurrant;
phweeps ringing sweetly
through sleepytime streets.

No lime northern lights
to outline the dives
against the skyline.
No splintered doorway
exposing Heaven’s riches;
God flashlit in repose.

Just the lonesome echoes
of a luckless flyer, whose
hopes of a meal are fading
on the grey of the breeze.

Still she eases over
garage, police station,
with a sharp imitation
of a fat, happy constable,
blowing blue faced
on his wornout whistle.

This will be a quiet one,
save for the piper in the sky,
waiting impatient for a catch
in the bask of moonshine.

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 291

Sunday 1 December 2019, 10:39

North Berwick Law

The wind gasps, exasperated;
scattering my seaweed curls,
the waves scraping my cheeks,
obscuring endless views so blue,
a map that unfurls on and on.
The guttural gorse scent,
overpowering below, blasted away
by the salted gust that whispers
tales of hermits, wars and prisoners –
histories woven in its midst.
My voice sings out, swallowed instantly,
anonymous and fleeting
in this lyrical landscape –
an uninhabited island forgotten
in a beautiful immensity.

Kirsty A. Niven

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