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.

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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.

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