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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

Top tips from top poets (7)

Tuesday 21 July 2020, 11:47

For our latest top tip, we approached Deborah Moffatt, a prize winning poet writing in Gaelic and English who took part in our Gaelic Poetry Showcase at this year's festival. To date, we've had videos, film and audio clips. Today, we add to this with a guest post from Deborah, who responds as follows:

SOME THOUGHTS ON WRITING A GOOD POEM

by Deborah Moffatt

To write a good poem, you need, first of all - and this is probably obvious -- to have an idea, something you really want to write about. It doesn’t have to be the most original idea, or an idea that seems “appropriate” for a poem, but it should be something that matters to you.

Then you need to build a poem around that idea. For me, the second important thing is to find another idea. I usually find that there is something that’s been kicking around in my mind for a while, but I haven’t found a way to write about it.

This second idea may or may not be directly, or obviously, related to the first idea, but something tells you that the two will go together. You can then use one idea to enhance the other, or you can create an argument, a bit of tension, between the two ideas. That would be similar to creating a plot for a short story, or, say, a thesis and anti-thesis.

After that, you will need to discover the language of the poem, the tone, the atmosphere. You need to find a suitable vocabulary, and a suitable form; I usually create a form as I go along, especially when I’m working in Gaelic, where the rhythm of the words is quite different from the English. The length of the lines you choose is important, as is the length of the stanzas, if you’re using them.

It’s a really good idea to experiment with all of that for a bit, to try and find what works best for this particular poem. Once you’ve got that settled, the rest can be quite simple...although usually it isn’t! You have to go at a poem like a dog with a bone, chew it over and over, maybe bury it a few times. Someone once told me to never throw away anything I’ve written. Even if you don’t keep the actual paper work, you can always go back to an idea with some fresh thoughts some other time.

Another possibility is that, in spite of what you had planned to write, you find yourself going off on a tangent. That can be a terrible mistake, and if you don’t realise that you’re going wrong you’ll just make a huge mess of your poem.

On the other hand, it might be much better than what you had originally planned. So I say, go with the flow, if it seems to be working. But keep your original thoughts and scribblings to hand, just in case you need to start over again.

The final hurdle is ending the poem. I often realise (or a good editor tells me) that I’ve come to the end sooner than I thought. The last stanza, or the last line, can be redundant, or a bit trite, if you’re trying too hard to make a point or to be clever.

Then the really hard part is knowing when to stop tinkering. You still have a chance to spoil a good poem! But if you have doubts about anything in the poem, don’t dismiss them. Your instinct is probably right.

Categories: News, Digital

Top tips from top poets (6)

Monday 20 July 2020, 19:30

The latest top tip for writing a good poem comes from Mhairi Owens, winner of last year's Wigtown Poetry Prize. Mhairi read at StAnza as part of the Wigtown Prize Showcase event in March. Here's her advice:

You can find the earlier five top tips collected together here.

Categories: News, Digital

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 329

Monday 20 July 2020, 11:57

Cry of the Celts

In the pinch of a late winter
that should have flown north by now
to leave a southern spring,
she moves down Sauchiehall:
then sideways into snarling alleyways
& slipshod streets.

A piper in full Highland dress,
his cheeks florid, cap askew,
scarlet tartans flapping
in the skirling wind
plays “Flowers of the Forest”,
“The Water Is Wide”—O Waly, Waly!

She listens inside her hands & feet
& deep in her breastbone:
so many fluttering pennants of liquid song
rolling & unscrolling in thin rivulets & tendrils
to inundate her heart,
ensnare her soul.

His music blindfolds her to shoppers, cars
& blathering shop windows; so now through muffling tears
she hears instead only the blood-red-curdling
ribbon uncurling melody swirling
scalding purple stain
from lost ancestral glens & crags.

The plaint & wail of pipes pours out,
overflows the heather air;
then raises her, sweeps her
over paving stones,
lifts her, free of weeping,
light as dancing, to float forever away.

Lizzie Ballagher

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. 328

Sunday 19 July 2020, 18:41

shoreline

my fugitive self shuffles over periwinkle beads of discarded shell
beneath stretched clouds of cotton threads, a cathedral naves a soul-lifting lustre

scuttling oyster catchers sand potter, long beaks reaching, sweetness searching
gulls scream a gallantry as kittiwakes guard languishing rock pools
of lamenting weed, hiding scurrilous crustaceans

bobbing fishing boats flake paint of oak-beam memories
as a foghorn voice of sea haar swells a sea-monster’s armour

bedrock of my hometown, bequeathed to me by forbearers
of mills and railway tracks, cobblers and fisher folk, spinners and strugglers

I have judged you harshly, absconded in my youth, from your safe havens
and I realise that I have run from this, covered myself in my brigandine
while this shanty soundtrack has played within me

Irene Watson

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
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