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
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
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.
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.
- 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.