Archive | August, 2014

Poetry Map Poem 37: Edradour

31 Aug

Edradour

for Rachel

Lay down a draft
watch it strengthen           colour

Offer up a body
reduce            to almost nothing

Lay down a word
its sweet              running water

Offer up a life
and its remains        your share

 

Mark Russell

from Pursued by Well-being (tall-lighthouse, 2013)

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

How the map looks now …

31 Aug

 

For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/. It’s still the case that we are happy to accept poems for any location, regardless of whether they already feature on the map or not, but if you have a poem which would help fill one of the gaps, all the better ….

Poetry Map Poem 36: Bennachie

30 Aug

The Sang o the Saracen Maid
For oor asylum seekers and traivellers o a sorts

I hae left my land o the Orient
And traivelled the warld wide
Tae find the faither o my bairn
And rest there by his side.

I found him in the desert sand
Sare woundit fae the fray
I bore him tae my faither’s tent
To tend him monies the day.

His wounds wi silk I bandaged roon
Wi ointment rich and rare
I washed them daily wi my tears
And dried them wi my hair.

My hips were girdled wi tinkling coins
My breists wi the jasmine flooer
As we lay in a silken desert tent
For monies the lovin hour.

And the crescent moon filled the desert sky
Like the crest on a Saracen shield
And the stars o the east sang, “Bismillah!”
Ower the lovers’ silken bield.

But I left the palms and the desert sands
For the pines o Benachie
For the sake o the luve o a Templar lad
Wha has cruelly dealt wi me.

Now I shiver in the blast o the cauld, cauld wind
At the back o Benachie
And I greet at the grave o my bonnie, bonnie bairn
Wha ne’er again I’ll see.

So sing the sang o Persephon
Wha traivelled this warld wide
Wha set her bearings for the North
Wi the lodestone o luve as her guide.

And when simmer comes to the Garioch-o
Of an evening you may sense
A zephyr blaw ower Benachie
Cairryin the fragrance o frankinsence.

Craig Smillie (“A tale told to me by the great Scottish Traveller, Stanley Robertson”)

Ricky Ross has written music for the poem and recorded it on his recent album “Trouble came looking.” You can see him performing it at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZhNCqW93Fw

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map Poem 32: Lewis

29 Aug

Back Home in Lewis

(for Finlay and Norma)

Preyed over by eagles, balletic osprey, and a shrouded sun,
no-one could own such a land but figures of stone.
Yet some with their gentle speech dwell in this strewn place
and after centuries living on the edge they fish in Brussels
with all the guile and grasp of an otter-board.

Within the settlements Elvis look-alikes
swank on motor-bikes with pulling power,
their side-burns wearing well into middle-age:
the King is half-alive and living in Bayble.

On a long and lonely road
an old man drags his cow in the teeth of a gale,
grinning a greeting from a dentist’s nightmare.
Seeking more danger than the sheep can offer
his dog attacks the wheels of passing cars.
Motor bodies bleed into the moor
and the shearing snows upon a summer field.

Here, where rosaries are rare, Sundays divide the people,
while the minister waits, like black ice,
for their slide into forgiveness and remorse.

And the wind that broke the trees into submission,
the wind that beat you when you were a child,
the wind you ran away from,
calls like a keening mother,
come back come back come back…

Gerard Rochford.

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map Poem 35: Whithorn

28 Aug

Reborn

George Dickie didn’t hack it as a butcher,
swapped the blood and offal
for a uniform and when its shade didn’t suit him
disappeared among the disgraced:
the distaste back home was palpable.
Then George Dickie became Jack Brent,
and took a bullet in the spine
for the poor at Jarama,
limped back, battling still for the flag
bright as carnations,
as the blood of Spain.
On the sodden streets of Whithorn now
there’s a splash of colour and a communist star,
‘Un heroe de la guerra civil de espanola’.
How disgusting some said,
so close to a shrine of Christ
who gave his life and was reborn to save us all.

Hugh McMillan

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map Poem 34: Dumfries and Galloway

27 Aug

The clue lies in the lady’s toe

On visiting Henry Moore’s sculpture in Dumfries and Galloway

On a Scottish hillside the bronze statue
of an archetypal king and queen
braves the elements,

observing, perhaps, a thread
of slit-eyed sheep winding up the hill,
with careful, delicate tread,

yellow marks like lichen
on their rumps, their gaze
full of vague unanswered questions.

My mind, also, struggles to explain
the different texture of the metal on
the king’s right knee. While all the rest

is stippled, rippled, riven
in a pattern to catch the varying
shades of light, his knee is smooth.

What point was the sculptor making
as he carefully fashioned this
one unblemished surface?

Only as I descend the hill
does a clear-cut memory emerge
from long ago, as I recall

a constant stream of pilgrims
filing past a marble statue of
the queen of heaven,

the slight roughness of the stone
contrasting sharply with the smooth
and shining toe

which generations of the pious
have knelt to fondle and to kiss,
wearing away the awkward corners

and bringing out a deeper shine. The line
of sheep has reached the sculpture now,
and as I watch

each sidles up to the impassive king
and meditatively rubs her rump
against his knee.

Alwyn Marriage

(This poem won second prize in the Bedford Open Poetry Competition in 2011 and was subsequently published in the Interpreter’s House in February 2012)

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map Poem 33: Pap of Glencoe

26 Aug

Pap of Glencoe

Upwards,
we climb some puny feet
to sixty-six short of a Corbett.
The shape shifter rain
turns on its host in an echo
of the massacre in the snow.

Rain to sleet sleet to hail hail to rain.
We climb in the emperor’s new waterproofs.
Remember man that thou art water
and unto water thou shalt return.
You fell three times on this Calvary,
this blasted ben,

and vanished into a mistless mist.
Cupping my blue fingertips,
I shouted your name and my futility
at the shape shifters
and the far peace of Loch Leven
over a daunting yonder.

I found you again,
beneath the inscrutable Pap.
You both took my breath away.
‘Turn back’ you said in unison.
‘Try again another day.’
Downwards.

John Quinn

(Previously published in Poet and Geek, 2014)

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map Poem 31: Castlebay, Isle of Barra

25 Aug

Star Of The Sea

“Refuge in grief, star of the sea”
“Pray for the wanderer, pray for me”

Tides and gusts that have crashed and howled for all our existence,
through lifetimes before ours, and before any life existed.
Against the wind everlasting and waves eternal,
stubbornly standing Kishmael’s castle,
staunch and firm in steady fortitude,
against the ocean’s incessant surges,
stony and stoic in the haven of the bay,

And above them all, on high, anchored on a hill,
is The Star Of The Sea.
Sanctuary,
in the truest sense of,
the word.

This tourist standing alone, solemn in its shadows,
safe and sound, in silent solitude, seeking shelter from the storm,
but there is no storm outside, or inside,
all is calm, still and serene,

even these wild westerlies seem mindful of the sanctity of this place,
as now their perpetual whistling, is just a confessional whisper,
outside stained glass windows, in hushed respectful reverence
this is as placid and perfect a peace, as any peace that I have ever known.

Uneasiness ebbs, tranquility flows, spirits they are raised,
harboured doubts are dashed, troubled waters oiled, worries washed away,
and I am immersed in it’s past, it’s glorious history and sorrowful mystery.
“Assuaged my sorrows and calmed my fears”.

recognised signs and familiar symbols, universal and iconic,
stronger and surer than any words in, English, Latin or The Gaelic,
statues and stations of the cross, give security, succour and solace,
so that on this windswept, isolated, distant place I am, for now, at home.
“guide of the wanderer, here below”

This is a place where faith has to be real. True.
Where fathers and sons set sail to cast their nets for days and nights,
seeking out the herring shoals through the dark Atlantic swells,
following a course, that was set for them.
“Eyes to the heavens, the ocean stars”

Here families of fishermen prayed together that they would stay together,
resolutely believing, in a miraculous reconciliation.
“and soothe with hope, our misery”

Here mothers gave thanks for the safe returns of stranded sons,
“Pray for thy children, Star of the sea.”
Here grieving widows prayed for the peaceful repose,
of their loved and lost souls.
“Pray for the mourner, Star of the sea”

And I pray too.
Hearing the same wind, the same waves
that they heard, as they prayed,
the same wind. and the same waves,
that they cursed, as they heard,
that their men,
would not be
coming home.

(Shaun Moore)

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map Poem 30: Great Western Road, Glasgow

24 Aug

negate the meat

the end of days are an eternal condition
always looping back
heavy with sign and portent.
He falls with the contours of the pavement,
letting the uneven footsteps guide his drunken compass
down hill and past the wrought iron fence.

Even though the sun shines you can’t help
but feel the drowning vegetation
through your damp feet.
Follow
the flow of the water –
it must lead somewhere.

The way it presses against you. Almost
insidiously, like a creepy uncle.
His voice curls endless whisper to
negate
the
meat. These people are like
gaping flesh wounds. It isn’t polite to look.
Also advisable to plug up your lugs with gauze
and Vaseline. Unfortunately, this attracts
attention.
You desperately need to hide yourself
in some way – if only for the benefit of
future generations. The fear
that these people work in television
is very tangible
and
you worry that the condition may
be infectious.

You knew a guy once – swallowed
up by the artisan cheese
crowd.
Only thing left of him
a memory. Skulked
the twittersphere for days
like a bad instagrammed meal.

He leaves quickly so
as not to be noticed.

The city doesn’t hum,
it creaks and moans.
Glasgow has real old bones
polished up real good
in the spirit of
homogenised milk.
Doesn’t mean you can’t smell it. That dust of living decades.

On the underground this smell condenses – almost pure vapours.
Catches you in the back of the throat. Hard not to gag.
Going around
and around
the circle line
feels like being sucked
through an unpleasant future.

Great Western road is straight as fuck.

Adam V. Cheshire

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

Poetry Map Poem 29: Wigtown

23 Aug

The Kissing Gate

Night bleeds into day as light expands
from the horizon. Grey dawn ripens
to a deep red before diluting,
surrendering
to the first heat. Slowly,
as the day grows, petals of light
unfurl on the gravel pathway
passing through the Kissing Gate.

As a gull circles its solitary tour
of the sky, the earth reaches out
with tongue, palate and breath.
Across the long
horizon, burnt colours of trees
shimmer beside rocks
covered in lichen, rocks
sculpted by wind and rain.

Hills, which retreated from glaciated
roundings, watched as steamboats
from Liverpool, schooners,
names and dates
became as much a part of Wigtown’s
Bay’s intricate scaffolding,
as the Covenanters executed by
drowning. Now night tides flood in

and wildfowlers smear mud on white faces
in the dark, windless morning. Religion
and beliefs are immersed
in the mud
discovering their own rhythms and tides.
History, like dust swirling
in disturbed air, eventually settles,
revealing the reality of people’s lives.

Kriss Nichol

To view our Map of Scotland in Poems as it grows, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/the-map-revealed/ . For more information on this project, and on how to submit a poem, see https://stanzapoetry.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/mapping-scotland-in-poetry/.

All poems on our poetry map of Scotland and on the StAnza Blog are subject to copyright and should not be reproduced otherwise without the poet’s permission.

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