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. 313

Wednesday 10 June 2020, 13:17

The Sound of Sollas

I'm calling you from Sollas,
where the winds are
walking us hard, and the sands'
tide-calming expanse laughs
at all purpose and pace.

The sun's broken through
- to this birthplace
of your grandfather; a visiting
sky lends exotic blues
and greens to the sea.

Not of a mind to return,
to see childhood summers
overgrown, the machair's
memories not your own, old
haunts inhabited, ruins now built
upon, you have stayed

away some sixty years.
So I'm calling you from Sollas,
a mobile to my ear, to bring you
the waves just in - as they break
around the sound of me.

The winds are shooing shadows
across the bay, swift to deny them
the time of day, the faintest signal
could get blown; they're breaking up
the syntax of my thinking, buffeting

my intention. But it's ringing out
now: seconds stand
to connect you to here,
restore the downed line
to then. I pick up the click,

make my own voice
out back home:
"Sorry we can't come to the phone...";
and the great curling surf comes washing in
- inexorable as the tone.

Mora Maclean

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. 312

Tuesday 9 June 2020, 14:37

Playtime

out they come

small Lowry shapes
run, leap, hop,
shriek like trains
giddily gyrate
furiously skip
or stand in groups
in the rain

loud from a livid sky

thunder rolls and crashes
lightning flings its baton,
scatters them
like birds
with broken wings

they hear an anxious bell that calls them in

magnetised, they move,
iron filings to the door
but one boy
halts

gazes at the sky,
wet hands dripping.

Ann Rawson

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. 311

Monday 8 June 2020, 16:50

b o n e  b r e a k e r

I wake to find bog asphodel
on my pillow   saffron orange   dried   plucked from
peaty moorland by the edge of Loch Staoineig
I’d been foraging St John’s Wort
to press inside my vest beside my breast
to ward off the evil eye
but the seed heads of the asphodel
lit up the bracken and the heather
jewel–like
and as I picked my way to the harbour of the coracle
where Columba landed &
monks piled penance-pebbles high
I wove it through my wind-wracked hair
then set to combing the Atlantic scoured beach for
violet quartz or crystallised granite or
green marble mermaid’s tears
before returning   pockets rock-rich
to Lagandorain
by way of the bay at the back of the ocean &
the knoll known as the hill of the angels

Kay Ritchie

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. 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 »

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