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. 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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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 »

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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.

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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 »

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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.

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Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 304

Tuesday 19 May 2020, 11:53

Peace Garden

You sole
obstinate wasp
can you understand it
was your persistence wore me down,
pressed

me to
sacrifice my
sandwiched sustenance.
Your willing spiralling descent
onto

fallen
fat salami
stirs in me disgust but
also guilt in tempting you, for
are not

you a
Samye Ling wasp?
Perhaps once Buddhist or
yet to take such refuge but now
feasting

under
holy stupa,
high flags cracking as I
turn, confused in this garden
of peace.

Mary Wight

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.

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Poetry Map of Scotland: Poem no. 303

Friday 15 May 2020, 16:46

By Ballachulish Bridge

I mind the time, when I was very wee,
A chain-pulled ferry stretched across the kyles,
Medallion-like upon our neck of sea.
The loch-side road meandered many miles
To Kinlochleven – rock and machair grass,
And rain, and ling, below the mountain ridge –
A track so narrow, two cars could not pass.
But then one day they built for us a bridge.

My errant grandson came for lunch today –
He drove from Glasgow city in his car,
Brought wife and kiddies with him all that way
And back again, now distance is no bar.
I mind the time we waited for a bus –
A wooden shelter shared with highland midge
That pestered till the driver stopped for us –
Such were the days before they built a bridge!

Upon the bus’s flank it said “MacBrayne”;
Along the gravelled track it toiled and groaned
To Oban, where we had to board a train,
Snail-slowly, and a southward pilgrim loaned.
These new-built bridges, leaping lochs and braes,
Would seem to span from mountain range to range;
What bridge is there from age to younger days?
There’s none – there’s just the one-way loan of change.

Marie Marshall

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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.

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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