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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

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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

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Categories: Poetry Map

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 357

Wednesday 23 December 2020, 11:27

Troon Beach in Snow

Collie-coloured with snow and seaweed,
the beach plays fetch with the winter crowd.
Snowy hackles raised by last night’s frost,
children tug the fur to snowballs,
or smooth it with their sledge,
parents always close at heel.
Teenagers romp in puppy games,
throwing themselves like sticks
through a ruff of waves,
their flesh driftwood-pale against a litmus sky,
where the heavens blend to sunset.

Rowena M Love

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Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 356

Wednesday 16 December 2020, 18:01

La Belle Vie Sans Merci

I listen to your La Belle Dame Sans Merci,
to the classroom antics of a Lanarkshire Grammar,
drilling in the canon. Only, you liked what you heard;
your clever-girl head engaging avidly
with Keats’ meaning - his poetics.

Now, you are 70 and adapting to
those inflictions on the body of living in time.
From the room of your own, you don’t need
the services of a drone to offer perspectives
on a changing life, you can see them for yourself.

You just want the feel of the auld life back,
but ye ken well this cannae be,
regaining what is truly lost. You will renew
auld acquaintances, if willing, and imagine
new ways of being in the spaces that remain.

William Hume

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Successor for StAnza's Festival Director appointed

Wednesday 9 December 2020, 09:58

In the wake of the enticing preview of next year’s festival, StAnza is delighted to announce the appointment of its new Festival Director, Lucy Burnett. Working with the current team, she will succeed Eleanor Livingstone from April 2021.

(c) Rob Crampton

Lucy is from south-west Scotland, and currently lives in Cockermouth. She is a poet, photographer, keen fell-runner and Munro climber. Knives Forks and Spoons Press published her climate-change narrative poem Through the Weather Glass (involving Icarus and a talking bicycle) in 2015; her third collection, Tripping Over Clouds, was published by Carcanet Press/Northern House in 2019. She has enjoyed collaborations with dancers and a French theatre company. She has worked as an environmental campaigner, notably with Ramblers Scotland; as Centre Director of Arvon Lumb Bank; and in several universities, most recently as Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Cumbria.

Robyn Marsack, Chair of the StAnza Board of Trustees, says: ‘StAnza has been so fortunate in Eleanor Livingstone’s leadership, creative programming, and sheer hard work over more than a decade. We are excited about working with her successor, Lucy Burnett, to build on StAnza’s reputation and extend its reach. Lucy’s variety of experience and interests will bring new energies and connections to StAnza, and we greatly look forward to her first festival in 2022.’

Lucy Burnett says: ‘I’m truly thrilled to have been appointed Festival Director of StAnza and to have the opportunity to continue taking the festival forward after the stellar tenure of Eleanor Livingstone. It’s an exciting time for poetry, with readership once more on the rise, especially among younger people. These are also interesting times – for Scotland, for the world, and for Scotland in the world. As the new Director of StAnza I’ll be committed to exploring how poetry can help voice new ways of thinking and responding to the changing circumstances in which we live.’

Categories: News

Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 355

Wednesday 9 December 2020, 09:38

Vikings in Uig Bay

Carved Queen,
do you contemplate
this King’s demise,
like the culled Hebrideans?
Your porous hand caressing a chased cheek,
as artisan horses flank your position –
he pushes you into the open.
Finger pinched towers silhouette against
the gannet laden sky, defending
a Nordic horde.
His Berserkers bite
the tops of cuneate shields,
ordered to drown in lust and ash;
coming on the Bay tide.
From the white sands,
the pagan bishop’s sermon stains
perennial grass in the name of Tyr.
Another indigenous line desecrated
on a chequered sea, where
the longship sailed.

Robert Nesbitt

Author’s Note: The poem relates to the Lewis Chess Pieces, Uig Bay, Isle of Lewis, and linking us to the Vikings. 

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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