Poem of the month 2022

Stirling's Makar selects each month a poem submitted by members of the public.

Poem of the month May

The Stirling Makar, Laura Fyfe, has chosen the poem ‘At Sherrifmuir’ to feature as  the Poem of the Month for May 2022.

Chris Powici is a poet and occasional essayist. His latest poetry collection is Look, Breathe (Red Squirrel Press). He lives in Stirlingshire and teaches creative writing for The University of Stirling and The Open University.

Poem of the Month for May

At Sheriffmuir

all day this thick summer rain

no sun to speak of

only the moor dimmed down

to a brown, heathery blur


a ewe trots through the heavy grass

and stands at the edge of a peat hag

so drenched, so calm

she could be breathing rain

at any moment she could become rain


her fleece is turning into water

her eyes are wet and black and deep


the roadside bracken shivers

under its hood of glints

and the blue harebell petals bend

and give, a little,

as if they know there’s more to come


there’s always more to come


the same rain seeps into the dark tangle of your hair

makes its slow way down the skin at the back of your neck

cool and silent, but telling you something

about here and now and how close the world is ̶

grass, bracken, a few small damp flowers

all it takes to start seeing thing again

to begin

Poem of the month May

John Cowane’s Hospitality

Decayed, auld breither o the Gild,
John Cowane’s Deed sustains us,
ken, set in stane, on yon Back Walk,
his pledge tae entertain us.
On Gowan Hill we’ll stretch oor legs,
his Hospital will rest us,
we’ll praise him, deid, ‘Auld Staneybreeks’,
whae in his life oppressed us.
His overseer nou rules us hard,
nae swearing is allowed us,
nor furnicatione, marying
or missing Kirk on Sundays.
And in the sunny simmertyme,
whan Stirling’s lassies caa us,
if furth theirof at nine o nicht,
twa shilling Scots he’ll charge us.
A hairt o stane and trews tae match,
he stauns, stane-still, above us,
on Hogmanay he’ll shake thae breeks
and dance tae entertain us.

David Bleiman
First published in Lallans 95, Yuil 2019

About the poet

David Bleiman is an Edinburgh poet who writes in English, Scots and sometimes Spanish and Yiddish. His first pamphlet, This kilt of many colours, is a multilingual celebration of his own heritage and the diversity of modern Scotland.

David won the Sangschaw Prize 2020 for The trebbler's tale, written in the part-excavated but largely reimagined dialect of Scots-Yiddish. One of David's favourite walks is The Back Walk in Stirling. It was there that David saw the plaque commemorating John Cowane's legacy. David's poem adopts the seventeenth century Scots language to explore, in an irreverent way, the lives of the early residents of John Cowane's Hospital.

Poem of the Month Submissions

Hello Stirling poets!

I’m now open to submissions of poems on any topic with a connection to Stirling. Those who've lived, worked or studied in Stirling, or have written a poem about Stirling, I'd love to hear from you!

Successful poems will be published on the Stirling Council platforms and promoted on social media, with a fee of £20 awarded to the poet. 

Laura Fyfe

Submission Guidelines

  • One poem only per person
  • Poems invited on any topic
  • Up to 40 lines. 
  • Previously published accepted. 
  • Copyright remains with the poet 
  • Poems to be used at the discretion of Stirling Council.
  • Please include a title sheet on the first page with your name, word or line count, title(s), a 50-word bio and your preferred contact details.
  • We regret that we cannot provide feedback.
  • Emails should be titled ‘Stirling Makar Poem of the Month + YOUR NAME’
  • Please send all submissions to: Makar@Stirling.gov.uk.