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. 397

Wednesday 9 June 2021, 12:32

Hamilton Roots

Driving along Mill Road, Neil Diamond singing
“LA’s fine but it ain’t home”
I think of home,
and Hamilton is home. 

In my privileged youth I wandered
in the Andes to Machu Picchu 

Watched the marvels of Milford Sound,
Franz Josef glacier,
Teotihuacan 

In later years I walked on the snow
through Prague’s peerless centre,
was washed by mass sprays
from Iceland’s huge waterfalls

But you can keep all these
for I know home and my heart 

Union Street where I grew up
Where my parents lived till they died
Three weeks apart.
The huge chestnut tree
that afforded us a kids' outdoor home 

The back grass where I played so many games
Of football, rounders, athletics.
Ghosts of old friends are there still 

St. Mary’s school and church
People I still meet on the street
from those early days 

There are roots under the pavements
Brandon Street
Auchingramont Road
Almada Street.
My roots are there too,
old friends’ roots
my brothers’ and sisters’ roots
my mum and dad’s 

Ed is in Vancouver
Johnny in Portugal
Andrew, Den Haag
but I think of them
in Hamilton,
brothers here.

The Palace Grounds
where fairgrounds meant candy floss
and endless games of football
and putting 

Roots,
deep as existence
keep you stable
in turbulent times 

I spent four years alone
working around the world
getting to know life
but life is an inner universe
a sanctuary, a place of nurture
and inner needs roots

My poetry does not need Paris
beautiful though she is
my poetry is Hamilton poetry
you may laugh
at Lanarkshire as home
for arts and spiritual strength
but if you laugh
It’s because
you understand neither.

Art is.
Spirit is.
Roots are. 

Global wonders
are formed by local love
spread outwards in tiny ripples 

I soak in Hamilton’s love
absorb it fully
appreciate its strength
 and give it out
to the world
if it wants to accept this gift
of Hamilton roots
to a shared world. 

Martin Stepek

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. 396

Tuesday 8 June 2021, 11:03

Point of Sleat

The hard track starts where the road gives out
by the small white church. It switchbacks to a stop
at the empty crofts, one gull on a smokeless chimney,
the cold inlet of Acairseid an Rubh;
then it’s just a thin meandering path
through whin, bright sphagnum, brown peat and reed
to the lighthouse at the Point, the end
where there is nowhere left to go, but back.

Once, at the gate, there was a horse; it lay
against the wall. It seemed asleep. There were no flies;
finches fussed in the grass. The scale of its head
surprised; a fine fringe of hair on the crimped ear,
the eye wide open, bronze and blue as oil on water;
in this empty place, alive with small birds,
a flirt of primrose in the shattered quartz,
a mystery how its dead weight got here.

Another time, a highland man as big as monuments
strode, he said, to the wedding; dressed to kill
with sgian-dhu, and kilt, and froth of lace
below his beard; fluttering in the breeze
that danced with coming snow, a heather spray
tucked in his bonnet-band. The only guest
we saw all that day on the track down to the Point
where no-one seems to live but gulls and sheep.        

And once, as sleet and random fat white flakes
came down aslant the wind and failing light,
hunkered in the lee of the rock, the highland bull
we didn’t see at first; we heard its snotty breathing,
the shift and scrape of bulk; we felt the warmth
of a flank rough as a pegged rug, sensed the heft
of a blunt head, bright horn. It took no notice. That was it.
Once upon a time. No endings at the Point of Sleat.

John Foggin

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. 395

Sunday 6 June 2021, 18:15

The Falls of Shin

It looked and seemed like one enormous
pint of porter constantly pouring itself.
And I stood there in awe drinking this in;
the dark swirling body, the reconstituting froth
and the sheer sound of the stuff
just rushing and racing in spume.
My senses were birling and I had to leave
vowing that tonight, after our meal,
I would order a few sleek ones of my own
to see if I could find the salmon leaping
up to the font to confront the barman
whose hand had spawned this great torrent.

Jim Aitken

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. 394

Thursday 3 June 2021, 13:03

Gazing at Arran’s Goat Fell

the lapping of little waves
the sparkling sun on water
brambles ripe – ready to eat
light breeze shaking long grass
blue sky – blue as blue can be
     free from chem-trails

honking geese flying east
cows in a field half asleep
twee-tweet – an unseen bird
gulls white dots on wet sand
misty line of South Ayrshire
     foreground of white sails

the longing to linger here longer
the longing to make a painting

Larry Butler

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. 393

Wednesday 31 March 2021, 19:19

On Gillies Hill

More than familiar ties
attract me to this crag.
Ancestral voices drag me back.
I face far more
than four encompassed points
from this high wooded cliff.

Seen

The chequered spaces of the farmed carse
stretch south, snaked through
by ribboned windings of the Forth;
and, to the north,
flows to the feet of far, known mountain peaks:
Ben Vorlich, Ben Venue, Ben Ledi.

Remnants of small volcanoes -
fire and brimstone -
heap the river plain, now here, now there,
with leafy, ancient evidence:
Craigforth, the Wallace Monument, King's Park.

Brown velvet moorland, sewn with sheep,
slopes up towards the west.
Dark eastern ramparts of the Ochil Hills
protect the downward glaciated line
of Castle Rock and town.

Remembered

Memory looks down
whenever I come home to this known ledge.
It walks each time along the ridge,
stalks soft across the upland heathered fields,
marches away, beyond the silhouetted blue horizoned edge
of the child's vision;
watches, in the deep doved woods, the wee girl -
drowned in lipstick, high heels, Sunday hat -
listens to her tap-dance singing
on the big stage stone,
to an audience of trees;
lies, easeful, in the yellow grain below,
with the first sharp sweetnesses
of love,
all through a long, slow,
summer afternoon.

Sensed

But there's a deeper tune.
Chords resound far, far beneath
self-generated echoes.

Sheathed in the earth, the woven fabric
is stretched paper-thin.
Within the second of an eyelid opening, closing,
the outward skin drops, layer by layer,
exposing more, and more.

High, ritual platforms, lashed among the pines,
flash on an atavistic, primal wing,
sway once upon the wind and disappear.

Time slips, uncertain, falls:
races, without hour, or day or year,
calls along channels present, future, past,
and fades in the soundless corridors of space.

In this place, life maps - charts of souls -
are, in the end, mere fragments
in the vast depository
of the old world's age;
its story, leafed and bound,
rolled up within the rib bones
of this stone hill vault,
page on unending page.

Irene Paterson Fletcher

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. 392

Tuesday 30 March 2021, 16:14

Five Bar Gate

Diane tried to make it from the countryside
Got to the Valley rather late
Everyone was up on the YMCA floor
Dancing to the five bar gate.

Jimmy got lost near the Novar Bar
Stood there drinking very late.
He wanted to dance but he hadn’t the key
To get into the five bar gate.

Sitting in the street near the city sewers
Talking ‘bout you with my mate
We knew you were away with another boy
Dancing to the five bar gate.

John Worling

Author’s Note: If I’d grown up in the Mississippi Delta I’d have grown up with 8 bar blues, but I grew up in Kirkcaldy.

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