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. 335

Saturday 25 July 2020, 09:19

Hutton’s Unconformity

The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking
so far back into the abyss of time

—John Playfair

The day feels infinitely long. We’ve come here
for this. To give a greater sense to our finite
moments through glimpsing an abstract mass
of rock. Past the Brittonic dun and ancient
parish chapel falling beyond its second half-life
to a place we’d surely miss but for its present
historical significance. It’s where history begins.
Or, rather, where giddy minds are left to plumb
their deeper misconceptions of deep time.
Either way, the here-and-now proves irrefutably
selfie-worthy. And so we stare into the screen
for a brief stay against mortality. That other
timeline we update with catastrophic regularity.
We’ll be scrolling to this point our whole lives.

Tarn MacArthur

Note: Siccar Point, Berwickshire, is where James Hutton famously found evidence for his theory of uniformitarian geological development, which is considered by some to be the founding moment and location of the concept of deep time.

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. 334

Friday 24 July 2020, 08:57

Balmedie Beach

Go there.
Feel the turbine charging wind
tangle in your hair
its sand shifting
kaleidoscope twist.
The foreshore shines
iridescent mackerel slick
gusts toy with mists of grain.
Free from the marram's grasp
they sweep and bounce
quicken, peak, drop
and the winds rise again
to hold hovering
white winged gulls.

Tease out
the matted knots
at the nape of your neck
ruddy cheeks will fade
but Balmedie's sands stick
in the tread of your boots
sea air held
in the deepest breath
the advancing tide
as you close your eyes
north-westerly wind
urging you back.

Amy Raeburn

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. 333

Thursday 23 July 2020, 18:23

Duke Street Rhapsody

steppin off the B* Train round midnight
I’m hip to jive in the downpour intro
spotlightin a backdrop to a slow tempo dance
n s’like all low-key
n ama slippin into a downbeat cloudburst
in the romance of an old sepia-stained
black and white
an ah dig it

I pull my collar, curl into my coat
my mood, upbeat indigo steppn
my steps, a riff, tap…, tap…, tappin
fuse into, drip…., drip…, drippin
a melody in rain follows me up to the top
n am wonderin… who’s playin?

facing me, remnants of the old meat market past
calling and responding to a present
used car sales lot hinting at a future
on a sign that’s been up there
oh.., longer than ah remember

it’s bitter, a hollow night
thick with damp-sound
n ama take a sharp right
into a multi-phonic combo rhythm
…tap, drip.., tap, drip.., tap, drip..,

till the only other passenger disappears
ghostlike in rain-blurred vision
in a squeakin jalopy hissing
whish-sh-sh, whish-sh-sh, whish-sh-sh

easing into her stride
fusing into a dynamic, rhythmic
whispered improvisation:
…tap.., drip.., whish-sh-sh
…tap.., drip.., whish-sh-sh
…tap.., drip.., whish-sh-sh

right again and I hit Duke Street
and the beat’s still with me
hiding like a shadow in the dark
n ama carrying it,
wearing it like a new suit

above me an endless horizon
of black and blue stretches into
unseen women in unison
veiled behind billowing skirt-clouds
sultry and sulking in torch song dreams
bellowing menacing clouds
heard in screams
n me am all mizzle-muddled
cause they’re crying lost love
in verse-scattered puddles

opposite me, diagonally
on a corner, the post office
up above, ahead, jutting out
from sandstone, a brilliant red
T logo, neon-ed to the hilt
like a Greek siren
singing me seductively
into the New Variety Bar
for a cold one
I’m tempted, hold out, to my Orpheus
drown out her song

I pass on through
keep steppin n look ahead
shop-shutters lowered, shushed
like the eyes of babes in slumber
till morning, it’s me n you baby
n rain playin thunder

a dissonance of drizzled
wah-wah-wah’s
hammer a rap on countless surfaces
choralling madrigals into a quartet
merging with a cool duo
foot-steppin rain
as a bus stop’s metal roof strikes
a cadence of clanks..,
clank.., clank.., clank..,
improvised into one clear stroke
the pulse picks up
and the deluge wreaks havoc
n me, am in subdued rainfall
funk-ed all over a tempo
of fused harmonised chaos
n am still diggin it

n am picking up the pace
am struttin, hell, ma legs
thems Jitterbuggin all over the place

across the street, Cafe Tibo
stares back noiseless streaked people
running into water colour
further up, Coia’s, spills more of em
eating and drinking
onto a canvas of water-logged glass
upstairs, top dancer
an open window belts out Billie:         

“Don’t know why there’s no sun up in the sky
 Stormy weather
 Since my man and I ain’t together
 Keeps rainin all the time”

to a wall-shadowed couple
moon dancin in intimate embrace
two down, next close, three friends
lean out smokin
their high pitched giggles floatin
fall soakin in song
n am not jokin
am in a frenzy
of torrential refrain
dude, am all ovah this rain

am approachin Miller’s Bar
on the corner of Duke and Garfield
n a ‘witches brew’ of folks
pressed sardine-like
bars the doorway
in clouds of hissing
smoky-blue-boned
dripped-dry-gossip

on the other side
Sonny’s Discount Store
Sunset Beach and Super Wok
sit together in a dynamic range
of intonations stretching
beneath bleached blonde tenements
where winking mercury droplets
hang like tears
before kamikazeing
from window ledges
humming an unsung ballad

jeepers creepers n I’m gettin down
on sweet muted chords
leapin all around me
then I hit the D* Train junction
crossways from the Duke
where it all comes together

that bebop rain takes the tune
as I stand looking at rainfall
playing through melody
it slightly flats out
then reaches harmony
as a stray drunk
staggers out on a high note
shape-shiftin and slippin
chords that he forms
into those interval cracks
between drips, he’s swingin
while a heavenly rhythm section
keeps soft time
in hushed drip-drop magic

he moves slowly through
the melodic body of the downpour
then compensates harmonically
moving mode and tempo
up a shot until only rain
can bring it all back down again

its breath-taking listening
and how seamless it all is
cept light and rain play me
cause when I look again
there’s Miles Davis in silhouette
standing in front of the Duke
head slightly bent
trumpet raised

*B Train (Belgrove Street Train Station)
*D Train (Duke Street Train Station)                                   

Ruby McCann

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. 332

Thursday 23 July 2020, 11:17

Dunfermline Abbey

this is my kingdom
lion-backed I watch
the Glen this town
its people past and
present saints noblemen
and paupers

I know of loss and
change of what
it means to suffer
but I have risen
to new splendour
come into my own

and now my care
is blesséd peace
to cool your tired
pilgrim’s brow
to calm your sorrows
and to let you see

that I am made of
hope as iridescent
as a butterfly in spring
that each my carving
is a letter to you
and every stone
a prayer

Marie Isabel Matthews-Schlinzig

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. 331

Wednesday 22 July 2020, 13:37

The Stane in the Fish in the Boat in the Bay

(A poem/song in Scots for five voices)

1st Voice:       

Oot in the bay,
the pearl-grey bay
there’s an auld fisher boat
a-rockin’, a-rockin’,
a-rockin’ a’ the fair-weather day
in the pearl-grey bay.

2nd Voice:

In the auld fisher boat
that will ever aye float
there’s a ticht green net
a-stretchin’, a-stretchin’,
a-stretchin’ like a wee kitten’s coat
in the auld fisher boat.

3rd Voice:

In the ticht green net
that’s ever aye wet
there’s a siller-blue fish
a-wrigglin’, a-wrigglin’,
a-wrigglin’ in a fast dance set
in the ticht green net.

4th Voice:

In the siller-blue fish
that will grant ony wish
there’s a mottled moonstane
a-gleamin’, a-gleamin’,
a-gleamin’ like a bone china dish
in the siller-blue fish.

5th Voice:

In the mottled moonstane
as bright as sheep-bane
there’s a pearl-grey bay
a-sparklin’, a-sparklin’,
a-sparklin’ like a star a’ alane
in the mottled moonstane.

All Voices:

Oot in the bay
the pearl-grey bay
there’s a new fisher boat
a-rockin’, a-rockin’,
a-rockin’ a’ the fair-weather day
in the pearl-grey bay.

 John Rice

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. 330

Tuesday 21 July 2020, 14:14

Glen Muick

Drizzle smirrs the hill, swells
grey air with the stink of smoke.
Dogs shiver in disappointment.

Mountains huddle under wet shrouds
and seaweed bracken straggles
our braeside pathway

bur red deer, exultant in their
Christmas crowns, gather under
the lee of the hill, heedless

of our intrusion or
the fine rain.

Jean Taylor 

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