Tag Archives: Mapping Scotland in Poems

Mapping Scotland in Poetry – an update

3 Feb

MapAs part of our Archipelago of Poetry theme for StAnza 2015, we will be featuring some of the shorter island poems from our project to map Scotland in poetry in various ways around the festival. More on that in due course but meantime here’s a link to the map as it’s looking at present:

 

We now have more than 200 poems pinned to the map and a further 30 waiting to join them. So far 151 of the pinned poems have been posted in full on this blog. Thanks for all the continuing enthusiasm for this project, and do keep sending in your poems. After this year’s festival, we’ll be adding all the poems which are still waiting to get pinned.

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/.

 

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Poetry Map of Scotland poem 72: Speymouth

18 Oct

Speymouth Dawn

Between the star glazed opacity of night
And the dazzling drift of a deep blue day
The sea and sun embrace
In lovers’ fluent languor
In not long now this seed will burst
On tendrils of gold
To flower to day
At the mouths of the River Spey
Change-full choirs chant
Surf on shingle sliding
Interval shifts minutely gliding
From harmony to dissonance
Somewhere in the key of D (?)
The whole symphonic bay
In constantly impermanent refrain
When the tide comes in like that
Persuaded by a Moray Firth dawn
A fisher’s daughter
As aquiline, as fine, as osprey
Risen from her sleep of eagles
Pausing at the kale yard wall,
Sings out her strong and clear sustain
To an ocean of whale-song
And the triples and trills of terns
See:
A small pod of dolphins
Working in unison
Six slick dorsals
Rising and falling
In a closing loop
Herding the red fish
To a cradling shallow
Where the surface breaks
Then, mercurial, boils
With a panic
Of salmon
Leaping to nothing –
No breaking loose
From the leisurely beaks
Of the bottle-nosed noose
In the rivers rush
On a sand bar oasis
A seal pup waits
With the stillness of youth
For the silver flashing
And saline fruit
Of a returning mother’s
Own salmon pursuit
On a west bank litter of sand and stone:
Slow worm and adder bask in the sun
Dragon flies dance their right angled turns
Broom thickets’ fly speckled haunting yellows
And out in the bay a bull seal bellows.

John Mackie

Part of this poem is carved into a sculpture in The Harbour Garden at The Scottish Dolphin Centre in Spey Bay.

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 71: Aberfoyle

17 Oct

The Fall of Water

written at the Little Fawn Waterfall, The Duke’s Pass, Aberfoyle

The lithe leap the river makes
demands its own vocabulary
as ballet does – technical, evolved, exact –
to match its lacy, poised deliberation:
grand jetée,

failli,

sauté de chat.

Rocks heaped in the rift,
frayed and grained by its passage –
a mouthful of teeth, with splintered branches
caught between grinding edges.
Some are weathered like knuckle-bones,
others patted to a fat-buttock roundness,
one a perfect ogee, like the keel of a boat.

In the dapples of the trees a dust-brown moth
abseils down the reveal of sunlight and is lost
among bracken, the stealth of birds
and the sleepy conversation
of water slipping between stones.

Elizabeth Rimmer

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 70: Scourie Bay

16 Oct

Croft at Scourie Bay

In stone the colour of an unwashed fleece,
two small square windows and a low door
reflect a slanted light, all they get here,
where clouds forever jostle for position.

Twin stacks, like bookends, hold the rows of slate;
each black leaf wiped by many readings of the rain.
That rain still writes its own cold code upon the hills –
a cipher with a million years’ refinement.

There are few who try to break it,
who test their keys to this stiff lock of land.
They turn the sheep with heavy-pelted collies,
hoping for a clue among the patterns of their flocks.

Simon Williams

Published in A Weight of Small Things (Lincolnshire and Humberside Arts, 1981)

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 69: Anstruther

15 Oct

Pearl

In South Island seas, Brander’s fortune was founded
Trading coconuts by the million, and black pearls
Filled the ships that sailed the mighty seas, he sent
Exotic goods so favoured by Europe from the Pacific
Pearl-shell for the swanky houses of Paris he gave
The pearl culture enhanced the treasures of the rich.

Tetuanui i reia i te Raiatea, her very name a song
The fourteen year old Tahitian Princess stole his heart,
Cut off from the aquamarine waters of her birth.
A woman of substance she bore him nine children,
An esteemed socialite, her parties were legion
The first lady of Tahiti, did Scotland proud.

On Brander’s death Anstruther gained the princess
In a tiny fishing village in Fife, she flourished
Married again she mothered three more children.
She lies buried in the parish churchyard faraway
From the turquoise lagoons, a paradise on earth
That Gauguin chose to paint in vibrant colours.

Leela Soma

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 68: Isle of Harris

14 Oct

Na Hearadh *

Whisper her name,
she is island,
sheep-littered, stone-wracked
she cries the wild Atlantic
to her door;
cradled in this crook of sea,
she is the last land,
nothing more
all the way to Canada
and winds that scream off Labrador.

Sing her name
for the music,
for the lilt of tongues
and the tilt of earth
against sky:
three-billion-year-old rock
bursts her skin like bones
bleached to pity.
Black-water peat bogs
sigh in chorus
to this riff of crochets
down a hillside.

Remember her name
when you wear her,
wear the Clo Mor tickle
of tweed that will outlast
your scant three score,
that creeps beneath the skin
so you will never forget;
she is the itch you have to scratch,
the catch in the throat,
the echo you strain for.

*Gaelic for the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides.

Shirley Wright.

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 67: Dura Den

9 Oct

Dura Den

Fissured, enfolded
this steep cleft flies down

from ordinary fields’
Sunday afternoons

to inner earth,
dark, simmering , dusk’s

deep air breathed slow,
spiral in amber –

turns our footprints
into fossil fish, with ferns for bones

flying through stone cirrus,
fox-shaded kaleidoscope –

remember the thrush
we hid under leaf-fall

to unravel or
be made again?

Fireflies spark and snap
on private, uncharted paths –

memory’s domain
somewhere between us

Pippa Little

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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