It’s National Poetry Day! Mention Scottish poets and everyone automatically thinks of Robert Burns, the 18th century “ploughman poet” from rural Ayrshire who wrote so many well loved poems and songs, including of course Tam o’Shanter and Auld Lang Syne. But there has been a flourishing and active poetry scene in Scotland for centuries. More recent exponents include such twentieth century greats as George Mackay Brown and Hugh Macdiarmid to contemporary poets such as Robert Crawford, Carol Ann Duffy and Liz Lochhead.
Here’s one of our contemporary favourites from Kathleen Jamie. This poem is carved into the oak rotunda which surrounds the Battle of Bannockburn monument in Stirling, said to be the spot where King Robert the Bruce planted his standard ahead of the battle in 1314. Bannockburn was a defining moment in Scottish history and was an important victory for the Scots in the Wars of Independence against England.
Here Lies Our Land
by Kathleen Jamie
Here lies our land: every airt Beneath swift clouds, glad glints of sun, Belonging to none but itself. We are mere transients, who sing Its westlin’ winds and fernie braes, Northern lights and siller tides, Small folk playing our part. ‘Come all ye’, the country says, You win me, who take me most to heart.