Monday, 31 March 2014

The Maiden Stone

The Maiden Stone is a red granite, Pictish standing stone near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire. Its name is derived from a local legend, which explains the triangular notch toward its top. The legend states that the daughter of the Laird of Balquhain made a bet with a stranger that she could bake a bannock faster than he could build a road to the top of Bennachie. The prize would be the maiden's hand. However, the stranger was the Devil, who finished the road and claimed the forfeit. The maiden ran from the Devil, praying to be saved. The story concludes by claiming that God turned her to stone, with the notch being where the Devil grasped her shoulder as she ran.

The Ballad below is a Pictish Ballad, written by a loon frae Huntly in Aberdeenshire. It's derived from the above paragraph about the Laird of Balquhain's daughter [It’s two syllables; pronounced ‘Bal-kwane’ or ‘Bal-whain’].

The Lairdie's daughter of Balquhain,
a fair and bonnie quine,

Sunday, 30 March 2014

From where I stand

This poem was inspired by a poem I read in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was inscribed on a bronze/copper scroll, lying on the ground at the edge of a green, below a 15ft. high column of bronze books. There were two such columns, and there were several scrolls scattered around, seemingly at random. An interesting public monument, to say the least. 

The poem I read was by Mollie Strawn.

It's called 'From where I stand'.

From where I stand, I see our planet
happit poles
colours, hues
climate change
many views

From where I stand, I see this earth
mountains peak
canóns sink
valleys rift
crater's brink

From where I stand, I see the world
all within
some without
rights and wrongs
turn about

From where I stand, I see your land
green and pleasant
clouded hills
mills nor mines
nation's ills

From where I stand, I see my ain
for a' that
common weal
canny folk
dare the de'il

Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Word Sonnet

Here are two Word Sonnets. This is a relatively new variation of the Sonnet, still fourteen lines long, but with only one word per line. This miniature version of the Sonnet can contain one or more sentences, as the theme determines. I've read that the Word Sonnet was introduced in 1985, by an American poet called Brad Leithauser. However, the French might claim the honour as, in the same year, a poet called René Nelli published a collection of monosyllabic Sonnets, with each line comprising one monosyllabic word. I've deviated from the monosyllabic and my theme is the Scottish Referrendum, which is to take place in September, 2014.



Monday, 17 March 2014

Subcutaneous Scotland Blues

Inspired by a track from the Bob Dylan album, Bringing it all back home:

Here are the lyrics; scroll down for the video...

Salmond's at the casement
stirring up the rioting
she's on the pavement
thinking 'bout her government
the man in the tweed cap
coal mine, Bogside
said he worked in Clydeside
once upon a high tide
look out Jocks
here's somethin' you Scots
please take note
'cos you're gonna get the vote
you better seek through the Hebrides
lookin' for a new poet
the man in the philibeg
that's a kilt, ken
wants eleven dollars, Scotch
your Sterling 's worth ten.

Maggie sends Poll Tax
Hesseltine back tracks
Norman Tebbit last laughs
Spittin' Image, yeah but
the bed's taxed anyway
Geordie said it, many say
they must pay and will some day
never trust a Tory
look out Eck
you gotta sign the cheque
pay off your own dues
Irn Bru, short fuse
better stay away from queues
that argue 'bout a fool's ruse
make it big news
watch the Scots choose
you don't need a mirror man
to know which way to go – choose.

Vote aye, vote yes
get us out of this mess
redress, nothing less
if anything, it's for the best
Scone stone, Lia Fàil
Arbroath, Bo'ness
coal failed, eat kail, join the party, be unveiled
look out Bruce
the Comyn said truce
but Montrose, Dundee
six King Jamesies
thought about their loyalties
up by the Tollbooth
lookin' for a new truth
True Thomas Rhymer
read the Prophet's Paper.

O North Sea, keep free
crude oil, hard toil, Scottish soil
Caithness, Stromness
try a dram in Alness
exports, imports, wind blows
turbines, Hydro
fifteen years of Devo
and they give you referendum
look out Ed
you know it's not red
better look to your prospects
find yourself a mandate
don't wait too late
you can't afford to lose mate
don't wanna be so dumb
you better get some
the past don't count
'cause the Tories took the glories.