Archive | December, 2014

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem 131: Balumbie, near Dundee

31 Dec

Developing

“So Boo,” I whisper, “are we the old guard now?”

Boo glances at me then turns,
To sample a palimpsest of recent smells.
Food, mate, rival, friend, foe, fear, but definitely –
Food.

~

We out-flank Elm Gardens and Lime Grove,
On our own retreat from Moscow,
Rusting gorgets and ragged overcoats,
Shamefaced in the morning damps,
As we scatter dew drops from cobwebs,
Before suburbia stirs awake.

Silvered traces fade camouflaged
Dazzled under slick tar macadam
But I can still glimpse some prior paths
Still trace glinting scents of earlier intentions.

The rhody walk now rose-bayed over
Was once a road to her absent Mandalays.
A peripheral sniffer regularly hesitant,
By the sponge soft sequoia sequoia.
Hoodie damp, behaviour uncertain,
Prospects – not good.

Target spears like checkered survey pins
Chased with homecoming penants
Snap over freshly hoovered turf.
Yellow on green: please repair.

When they broke ground for foundations
Off today’s close cut fairways,
They found a plague pit. I wonder
If household insurance covers
Unquiet nights, two-up two-down,
Above the grim?

Where Arthur once tended garden order,
Our pagoda bus stop’s basal stones
Lie emulsioned under nettle and dock,
Over exposed long before this recent development.

Near the walled garden, young houses sprout.
Close by Faraday’s bleeping coils once
Found a hurried cast of big-hoose stolen trinkets.
Fruit trees and lost loot all forgotten,
Indoors latent images digitise the present
To remote clouds of fire safe memories.

Before dancers in suspension, before a burned-out shell,
Before blue domed invisibles, before all the rest,
There was still another other place
And fine trees cast their shade on other policies.

~

Boo stops to glance at me and sigh.
Then, turning with firmer purpose,
He inhales the unborn air: definitely –
Breakfast.

Steve Smart

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.

Advertisements

Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 130: Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

26 Dec

Neue Liebe

Mendelssohn began where Schumann left off,
took a newer, or ‘renewed’ love,
and set off on a pacing steed into a night
of moonlit passion and speedy quaver passages.
Did he think he’d found the key
to an eternal mystery that Schumann
attempted to bury at sea?
Old Felix liked the water, true enough,
but couldn’t stop the floods from drowning Love.
His diminished chord on ‘Tod’ proved it was not,
as the Bible claims, as strong as Death.
Maybe he was expecting something truly
novel out of Love, not just a dull repeat.
But this was a man who claimed he could
see Fingal’s Cave from Arthur’s Seat.

J. A. Sutherland

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 of Scotland, poem no. 129: Catterline

25 Dec

Bag Nets at Catterline
After Salmon Net Posts, J Eardley

Like a playground bully he hauls up his prize,
holds the salmon in his hands as he’d hold
a stolen note, some intimate treasure snatched
at the point of stillness, pre-dawn, say, or at dusk.
He dries his nets on six black poles just beyond her reach,
the grassy verge above the high water mark;
and though the catch is long emptied, her waves
are still foaming, clutching at sand, grasping for her own.

One boat a year is swallowed by her waters,
and a fisherman too – it’s true that fishermen can’t swim –
but there’s no crest to her wave, no great storm
or high tide. Her sands erode in the metronome’s equal
and constant measure, and the catches just run poor.

After a while he stays home, not shouting at his wife
but at himself, mornings, into the wind. His damp nets
rot in the back of his father’s sheds, dripping with disuse.
Evenings, he stares at his glass of golden seawater, seeing
the flash of scales, or the flickered lightening of a receding squall.
And every year she edges closer to that patch of grass,
to the monument she’s given herself: those six black poles
standing guard like a widow’s walk, watching the horizon.

Marjorie Lotfi Gill

Previously published in Miscellaneous: Writing Inspired by the Hunterian

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 of Scotland, poem 128: Iona

24 Dec

What happened to the words on the journey north

I spent some on the calm greenery of Hampshire,
heard myself being pedantic with a few
as we passed Nine Barrow Down
where de Havilland propelled, in this quiet place,
the twentieth century into action.
Motorways lulled me for a long time.
I began to wax lyrical at the Lakes, and at the border.
How were things in Ecclefechan?

From then on I was all gab
and it was only after I’d left Oban,
sailed to Craignure, driven across
the fat foot of Mull towards Fionnphort,
ferried over to Iona,
cycled as far as the north end,
walked the last hundred yards beyond
the last gate and the unchancy looking bull and the last fence
in time for the sunset
with the coast of Mull to my right
and the sky westwarding from there
like the hugest stretch in creation
over Ulva and Gometra and Staffa
and Fladda and Lunga and the smaller bits of Treshnish beyond
and the Dutchman’s Cap
that I became at last
speechless.

Joan McGavin

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 of Scotland, poem no. 127: Arbroath Cliffs

23 Dec

Arbroath Sandstone

I bow my head to mountains
every morning, a benediction
to Northern skies
but my eyes are on the East
measuring my life out
in steps along claret cliffs
The taste of salt surer than wine

A red light flares in my heart
stitching memories
with the Needle’s E’e
A dare to the De’il –
his effigy twisting to the wind
land-locked,
when all we can do is swim

Three sisters shushing
secrets in the Mason’s Cave,
siblings bound with pink thrift
and promises
The sea a grey milk
boiling up.

The haar stealing time.

 

Lynn Valentine

 

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 of Scotland, poem no. 126: Badbea, Caithness

22 Dec

 

Badbea, Caithness: Coastal Clearance Village

This could be the hearth
that heats the widow
carding in its light.

Here in the cranny of a wall
lays the chaib* sweating
from the peat cut.

Under the slab of a sill
lays a bag of malt
hidden, a safe minding.

Here on the door step
Sutherland stands,
pipe in hand

dunts it against
that sleeping plinth,
and embers melt into pools,

lost within the bog
where the pipe, soiled with ash,
lays against his bones

that leach through
the granite cliffs,
seep into the scree

strain the sands
to the dawn sea where herring
are on the turn, once again.

A P Pullan

* a kind of spade

This poem previously appeared in New Wring Scotland 28 ‘Stone Going Home Again.’

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.

Unfinished: Guest Blog from Robin Jones

22 Dec

Jones, RobinAs part of our Unfinished Business theme at StAnza 2015 in March, we will be showing an installation of extracts from the magazine DIN: Unfinished. The DIN editor Robin Jones will also be taking part in the Friday morning Poetry Breakfast panel discussion on poetry’s unfinished business. In this guest blog he gives some background context to this. NB WARNING – CONTAINS EXPLICIT ADULT LANGUAGE!

“It is an observation so quotidian that it bores me even as I write it, but the fact remains that DIN: Unfinished, the second issue of DIN Poetry magazine, came very close to not being finished. The launch on the 22nd of this month, I am relieved to report, has saved us from self-parody.

This issue contains both poems and prose with each entry attending, in one way or another, to something unfinished. In some cases the poem itself is unfinished and a movement between drafts is documented. Other entries represent a finished fragment of a larger unfinished work. We have also included a few that deal directly with “unfinished” in their themes. To preserve the submissions none were typeset; each was printed, scanned, and presented exactly as submitted by the writer.

DIN2 features poems from Tom Pow, Alistair Findlay, Alastair White, Dave Coates and Andy Powell. We are also particularly proud to include in this issue two works of translation: an excerpt from Alasdair Gray’s translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy and another from Colin Donati’s translation of Dostoyevksy’s Crime and Punishment.

As with the first issue we hope that DIN won’t just make for good reading but that it looks and feels good in your hands too. If you see one at StAnza do pick it up and take a look.

To give you an idea of how DIN looks, here’s a draft of Al White’s Unfinished Poem about Horses and W***ing. Al was the first to contribute to this issue, so this one’s been in my drawer for a wee while. Too long, in fact. The poem may even be finished by now.

See you all in March.”

Robin Jones

Editor, DIN Poetry

%d bloggers like this: