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. 363

Wednesday 6 January 2021, 11:57

Tay Reflections: A Flying Boat Renga

1
Rain mizzling, a St Ayles skiff
cuts jabbly water,
trailing pink and blue upriver. 

2
Flying forwards, gliding
to pass old ribs that held The Diver.

3
Oars dig deep, catch and pull,
plough through roiling eddies.
Eyes climb in awe

4
to aged iron girders,
cathedral spans over water.

5
Slipping past the bay's soft curves,
a silken-headed seal surfaces ―
rhythm companion across the void.

6
A watery sun peeps through clouds,
glints on the sandbank furrows.

7
Surging westwards to Jock's Hole,
Old Kilburn wreck in view,
Fife's green hills behind.

8
Flisk Point lures the hungry ashore,
Bodies rest amongst the pebbles.

9
Tide on the turn, return leg beckons;
spray somersaulting on shifting winds,
bow rides high, surfing a lathering tideline.

10
Oars slap water, plash,
train toots a greeting from above.

11
Homewards bound, under the bridge
water swirlin and birlin;
smirry rain on warm faces.

12
Powered by light, each image traces
a line leaving something of itself behind.

Tay Reflections linocutSandra Charles
Evelyn Hardie
Alex John
Gail Low
Heather Marriage
Ruth Morrison

Sarah Leenhouts (linocut artist)

Note: During lockdown, some of the women in the Catalina rowing club, based in Wormit, wrote a collaborative poem modelled on a renga. It's about rowing upriver on the Tay in a skiff called "Flying Boat". The renga form was inspired by Bill Herbert's Dundee lockdown rengas, and it enabled all of us to keep in touch with each other. 

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. 362

Tuesday 5 January 2021, 17:17

Glasgow Pride, 2017

Raindrops fall on neon faces
Colours run together
creating a crowd of tie dye delights
Glitter sticks stubbornly to skin
The dullness of the day
will not rid us of our sparkle 

We huddle together
L G B and T
A queer umbrella
shields us from the misery
and unites us under its bright banner 

On stage, four men
create magic
with their mouths 

Somewhere... over the rainbow
...blue birds fly  

Harmonies
melting over us 

And the dreams that you dare to dream
Oh why, oh why can't I? 

Lyrics echo, behind hopeful eyes
as old thoughts come caving in 

Why can't I
be normal?
Why can't I be straight? 

but we keep singing
Louder and louder
drowning out all that quiets us 

The music swells
as if to say 

Dare those dreams
Dare to love
whoever
You Choose. 

Almost in response,
the sky opens up
offering hope from behind the grey clouds 

A thousand faces seem to gaze up at once
Laughs and shouts ring out 

Laid bare before the eyes of the community,
like God themself was flying our flag 

A Rainbow! 

Beside me, a friend chuckles
and looks over, beaming 

Ha! she says
Maybe God doesn't hate us.  

Kirsty Anne Watters 

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. 361

Sunday 3 January 2021, 13:54

Wee Boats on Kames Bay

I look with wavering consciousness
at wee boats stationary almost
in the open pontoon of their mooring.

Glassen surface broken by silent
ripplings of others’ comings and goings,
sappling hulls with pale impressions of cirrus.

Day is otherwise lost, locked into the light
tones of an image that has lasted decades.

Ian Hume

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. 360

Tuesday 29 December 2020, 15:13

A Walk in Kilmarnock 

I kissed her first on Bank Street.
We strayed alang the cobbles.
I mind the freckles on her lip,
I mind my belly wobbles!
I mind my airm aboot her waist,
Her e'en, as we stopped tae talk.
I mind we turned up College Wynd
An' kissed ablow the nock.

Desire-lines coiled the Strand
Tae the station clock high up,
Then doon John Finnie Street we sang
Like when we'd won the cup!
We turned an swung ower Tim'er Brig
Tae King Street, an the shoaps
I pledged my love would aye rin true
Ti' the Fen'ick waatter stoaps!

We crept enrapt ablow the moon
That lit oor starry paths
An often by a daurkened door
We stopped tae catch oor breaths.
Ae nicht o blessed joy we had,
Frae Riccarton tae High Street
An aw the kirks in step tick-tock'd wi'
Oor herts' harmonic beat.

Kilmaurnock toon was oors that nicht
She was mine, an spun me roond.
I was but a geg on legs,
My spring was ower-woond!
Sae slow, sae fast, aboot the toon,
We turned, wi' the minute haun',
Ilk' brief, sweet second runnin doon,
Afore ye ken, it's gone!

We had naewhere tae go or be
Displaced, an young an free,
But jist hoo brief that daun'er wis
I couldnae then forsee.
As shair's the Palace clock sees aw
The fulness o the airts,
Sae monie faces has a lass
Tae vex a lad o' pairts.

For sixteen year' is still a wean
An lassies they are fickle.
My dear ye dealt a bonnie slap,
(Tho' no sae much the tickle!)
We split, we pairted, me bereft -
She said she had anither!
(Ae nicht I spied them by the brig.
I sweir, I grat a river).

Her hair, her een, her frecklet face,
For several cauld moons sired
Waukrife, fey, grief-stricken dreams,
That mony strolls inspired.
Alang familiar weys, yet strange,
I fun' masel, loast
An the chidin', happy, laughin' nocks
Exacted heavy coast.

I trailed alang thae bonnie wynds,
Again, an ower again.
An even prayed an raged at Goad!
For refuge fae the rain.
Losin' hours, days an weeks,
Autumn, winter, year -
My blood, fremit as the river,
As torturous (an clear!)

An' sae we growe, an' sae we learn
An doole, gie up the ghost.
An' sae we settle, sae we're bate,
Yet love oor torments most!
Kisses, they are o' their time -
An' glorious time we spent! -
But's no her lips I dream o' noo,
It's whit they represent.

Ma aul' hert cannae beat sae fast
As that time in the toon,
But memories o' ma braw, loast lass
Yet follae me aroon'.
I daun'er by the Laigh Kirk,
See lads tak' that same walk -
An' nae folk hear what I can hear,
The ticking o' yon nock.

Was it a noose, that ramblin' time,
A shackle I m'un bre'k,
Frae Gran' Hall tae College Wynd,
Lassoo'd aboot ma neck?
Micht I hae held the Moment
As licht's I grasped her waist
An' no dreamed sully, love-lorn schemes
She carelessly erased?

For "aye an true" 's but youth's desire.
- We burn tae be defined!
In time there comes a lettin'-go:
A wisdom we unwind.
Could I hae cheatet he'rtbrek
An hushed thae flytin' nocks,
By lettin things be as they'll be,
An takin' ither walks?

-----

Come Spring, a flash-flood hit the watter -
A fella escaped wi's life -
He'll mebbe never be the same,
Aye watchin', worry-rife.
Experience's a hard maister,
An the lang shadda cast
Can rob ye o' the joys o'er-dear
If ye'll no let go whit's past

Roy Hair

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. 359

Monday 28 December 2020, 17:09

Jean-Paul Sartre on Pettycur Beach

All that summer I was Mathieu Delarue
Walking the streets of Kinghorn like the streets of Paris,
Solitary, re-inforcing the common view
Among the local girls that I was up my arse.

Reading Jean-Paul Sartre on Pettycur Beach
My childhood home felt no longer mine
But another home seemed out of reach
In a different language, a different time.

The sunlight dazzling on the Firth of Forth
Lobster boats moored to the harbour wall,
Mothers gossiping on a picnic cloth:
Everyday things I didn’t get at all.
All that summer one thing was clear:
The roads to freedom lead away from here.

Derek White

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. 358

Sunday 27 December 2020, 16:40

Four Young Trees

They had a certain calmness
Those Scots pine trees
That stood together
On the edge of Stewarton

Four young saplings
standing strong
against the weather
And all its moods

Each year they survived
The four seasons
By standing together
Never falling down

Violent storms and heavy beatings
Bitter rain and Autumn winds
Leathered against their bark
But strong they stood

Not rigid, never pushing back
But bending with the blows
Swaying from side to side
They held their dignity

They grew stronger every year
Supported by the joys of nature
The trickling stream, the rising sun
Every happy creature

With Mother Earth, they stood proud
Their beauty plain to see
But man came beneath a cloud
and cut them down

No one heard their screams
As they dragged them into town
Four young trees
Slaughtered in their prime

They stripped them bare
Fed them through a Snedder
Severed their young limbs
Leaving just their stems

They stood them up against the wall
Those four young trees.
Naked wood for all to see
Stripped of their dignity

They tagged a price around their heads
And put them up for sale
Once proud young saplings
Now commodities

Lainshaw High School purchased three
My brothers gone left only me
Alone I stood
My dreams and me

Chain saws cut my brothers up
Young boys with knives and chisels
gouged out their wooden hearts
In the local woodwork class

They roughed them out, against the grain
Chipped away their soul
Beat them up with mallets
And shaved them into shape

Young hands carved them
Planed them, veined them, stained them
Into ornamental carps
Wooden fish that would not swim

Three fish in a school
Their fates would ever be
To adorn their creators’ mantlepieces
But never go to sea

But Saint Wolfgang had a different plan for me
Separated from my family
A boat-builder bought me whole
And saved me from that school

With the skilled hands of an artisan
And love and care, he crafted me
Into a model fishing boat
And launched me out to sea

I bobbed upon the ebbing tide
As the current took me from the shore
A solitary sailing vessel
Carrying the dreams of four

Ian S Goudie

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