The theme of our 2021 Ambassadors’ commissions is Sir Walter Scott, as we commemorate 250 years from his birth. In addition to wonderful new writing and recordings by the chosen poets, we present two new Gaelic translations by Ian MacDonald of Scott’s poems “Lochinvar” and “Proud Maisie”. Scott’s biographer Stuart Kelly reflected that his work was “…full of specific place names: to a degree, he invented the idea of a poetry of place rather than a locus classicus. His poetry was swift, dangerous, uneven, sometimes ragged, suffused with a sense of the gothic and yet rooted in Augustan cadences.” You can read more about Scott’s life and poetry at this link
chosen by Sheena Blackhall
read James Robertson's poem
DumbiedikesHoo mony trees tae prent a thoosan buiks? Hoo mony buiks tae pulp a thoosan trees? Hoo mony trees tae launch a thoosan boats?
read Sheila Templeton's poem
Sir Walter ScottFain wud ah hae pentit ye in a roch licht, scunnert at aa yer on-cairry, that biggin up o tartan lore, sic a fause freen tae Scotland’s story,
read Liz Niven's poem
Wattie PresentsOh aye, when Peter opent thae Pearly Gates fir me, A wis weel ready, ma gammy leg wis playin up something awfy An A goat a wee bit doolally, tae be honest.
read Shane Strachan's poem
DroverEngland’s sweet meadows feed mony beasts, sae dinnae be fechtin ower whar they feast.
read Tom Hubbard's poem
NECTABANUSKobolds, goblins; - bogles; Whitever yez want ti cry uz: see, we hae bonny gee-gaws fir yez!
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EventsDiscover our poetry events at the library & online.
chosen by Tom Murray
read Katy Ewing's poem
Monumenthungry for my turn to see the improbable sweep of Edinburgh city tiny from above laid out between hills and water,
read Craig Aitchison's poem
GatheringThat night, a grand shepherd’s welcome – devilled duck, run brandy, old songs. Work thou within, we’ll work without. He listens until full.
read Jane Pearn's poem
On Coming Late to WaverleyFlora and Donald, Rose and Cosmo, Fergus MacIvor Vich Ian Vohr. They live between the pages of events, of ideals and causes
read Daniel Gillespie's poem
Kirkpatrick’s HopeThe tide was in, a breeze in his face. He wouldn’t change that, not for any, other, place.
read Ruth Gilchrist's poem
The ViewA chanting stills my drift and a star eyed forget-me-not tempts me to the glittering water.
chosen by Martin Malone
read Alistair Lawrie's poem
Tales Of A GrandfatherClouds pass abeen, haar inatween, The chisel cuts awa. An aal chiel an a younger een Ye’ve files been there anaa.
read Lydia Harris' poem
A further unsuccessful water cure was attempted at Prestonpans in summer 1777*This is the wave will break the spell, this is the weed will coil my calf, this is the waters’ warp and weft, this is the song of the healing swell.
read Sharon Black's poem
NamesakeOn Ellen Isle, there’s your Lady of the Lake on a beach of pebbles bright as snow, lifting her head at some imagined sound. Soon the sun will set, the loch become a burnished sheet of living gold.
read Seth Crook's poem
Going AncestralYou, half-understanding, gripping an over-buttoned remote, sitting by a pile of reminder notes
read Peter Ratter's poem
three daysOur dance like someone else and she was a flow of swirling red curls swallowed deep in vodka
chosen by Martin MacIntyre
read Marion Morrison’s poem
Lochinbar agus msaaGaisgeach gun teagamh Agus mheall e iad uile aig Talla Netherby Gu h-àraidh am fleasgach bochd, ad a’ snìomh na làimh, Duine gun fheum a sheas le coltas an amadain
read Seonaidh Charity's poem
RomansachdAn t-allt a’ sruthadh fhathast, a’ bleith is a’ briseadh chreagan gun abhsadh a’ lìonadh linneachan dorch, bagarach.
read David Eyre’s poem
Chuala sinn losgadhAir àrd-ùrlar fiodha tha fear marbh, sìnte, seann phàipear a chraiceann, dùinte, sìtheil a shùilean,
Ian MacDonald’s translation
LochinvarTha Lochinvar òg ’s e air nochdadh bhon iar, Is gun aon each nas fheàrr aig neach feadh nan Crìoch; ’S gun aige ball-airm ach deagh chlaidheamh a-mhàin, E marcachd gun armachd ’s na aonar a-ghnàth;
Ian MacDonald’s translation