Friday, 19 February 2016

Solids and gaps


(National Galleries of Scotland, )

The bridge, though in no Bible, often makes
a Christian symbol, as in pontifex.

Painting the Forth Bridge, though outfacted, still
means the done staying not done that always will.

Photographing the Forth Bridge in stereo,
when the bridge had had thirteen years' existence,
conjures? allows? depicts? recreates? -- though

monochrome, steel -- a looking in the distance.

The above poem was written early in 2010 for the 'Inspired? Get writing!' competition organised by the National Galleries of Scotland.  Entrants were invited to write poems relating to art works in those galleries.  I did my exploration online.  The image I picked on was a stereoscopic photograph of the Forth Bridge, taken in 1896.  Follow the link in the title note to see it and the NGS notes on it.

The poem has now found publication in StAnza's Poetry Map of Scotland, and, for the duration of the StAnza Poetry Festival, in shop and business windows around St Andrews.  I had better say that StAnza was drawn to my attention by music librarian Karen McAulay.

Some readers will have heard me declaim a poem about another Scottish estuarine bridge, at various times in the last forty years.  The Poetry Map of Scotland gives the Tay Bridge a modern Scots poem by Fran Baillie, who accords William McGonagall his rightful place, and nothing more, with a name-check in the opening line.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The hang of the stones


The archaeologist, seeing the child brought here  for healing, sadly remembered the excavated child sacrifice. “Not cast in stone,” people say. They muddle casting the first stone and commandments cut in stone. Stonehenge was thirteen centuries in building, every change perhaps an altered purpose. And this was long before the Bible retold kings, rebounded transgression lines, gave new fulfillings of the law.

This, like 'Kirkconnel's bard', was my contribution to a project from 26 Characters26 Postcodes asked each participant to produce a 62-word composition inspire by the address corresponding to a specified postcode.  My postcode was SP4 7DE; the corresponding place was Stonehenge.

The rest of the creative journey is described on the project's post, which went live on 19 December 2015.