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the lost Bannockburn poems

December 4, 2012

I am rather cross. I was looking forward to another leisurely consideration of the poems put forward as contenders for the inscription on the new visitor centre at Bannockburn. I was also looking forward to comparing notes with those of you who read them and voted. Well, voting closed on St. Andrew’s Day and lo! ‘the people’ are no longer allowed to read the poems, apparently. They have vanished from the website. Rather small minded of the organisers, in my disgruntled opinion.

All I can do is to say that, for me, Kathleen Jamie’s poem was the natural choice. Amidst the bellicose swagger and aggressive, anachronistic socialism of some of the male authors, Jamie’s quiet voice was a breath of sanity. I became an awe-struck fan of her writing through her book of essays, Findings: in her poem for Bannockburn, she reveals the same sensitivity to place, the same intuitive sympathy for landscape and the souls who inhabit it. It would be a fine thing for us all if this were the voice chosen to speak for Scotland’s bloody past.

If you chose differently, however, do please tell me how and why. Assuming you can remember, of course, now that the poems themselves have vanished…

14 Comments leave one →
  1. hmunro permalink
    December 5, 2012 2:09 am

    Hrmph! I join you in being rather cross at the poems’ disappearance, DB. Although now I consider myself doubly fortunate for having had both the pleasure of reading them on Saint Andrew’s Day, and the privilege of voting for Kathleen Jamie’s beautiful, lyrical piece. Perhaps one day I’ll be fortunate enough to read it again, this time inscribed at Bannockburn.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 5, 2012 11:04 am

      Aha, I wondered if you’d chosen her too! Fingers crossed…

  2. December 5, 2012 7:36 am

    I can’t remember which were my choices! Of course I would have if they were still available. Have to confess I didn’t vote, because I don’t want anything to do with Bannockburn-itis in its official manifestation.

    How…’transactional’ of the organisers (the new, favourite term of abuse in my higher education workplace).

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 5, 2012 11:07 am

      Help, Bannockburnitis. That’s it, isn’t it? Highly contagious and likely to reach epidemic proportions over the next 2 years. What chance of Kathleen Jamie’s voice being heard in all that hysterical hubbub, I wonder.
      ‘Transactional’ is a new one on me. It’s the sort of jargon that reminds me of what I disliked about working in a big company, though! 🙂

  3. December 5, 2012 11:39 am

    Haaa, Kathleen Jamie! My favorite too. At first sight.
    Of course I missed all the well thought through, subtle and elegant elements and connections to Scottish history and poetry ;). But reading through the poet’s comments and annotations made it all even better (like you already mentioned in your first post).

    I admired the respect and enduring love for the land itself coming forward from the last sentence, and how the accent is not so much in describing the power play, blood, manly strength, weaponry, sweat and tears of the battle, but the deep reason why man fight a battle like this in the end.

    Too bad the poems are gone from the site. I noticed yesterday as well. I would have liked so much to reread the words. But they probably are going to be part of a small book. And are going to be for sale. In museum shops. It’s like that.
    If Kathleen Jamie’s poem is going to be chosen however, her words will be free to be read and enjoyed in silent moments at the rotunda, and other places.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 5, 2012 10:49 pm

      Hear hear. No surprise that you chose Jamie too, Diana. 🙂

  4. December 5, 2012 1:25 pm

    Another vote for Jamie here. A beautiful piece. Will now seek out the book you mention.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      December 5, 2012 10:51 pm

      You could not fail to appreciate her writing, I would think. Her latest collection is called ‘Sightlines’ and has also had outstandingly good reviews.

  5. December 5, 2012 4:56 pm

    I too voted for Kathleen Jamie’s little gem. Indeed I liked it so much I cut and pasted it (and the background notes) into a Word document and saved it on my computer:

    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.

    I so hope simplicity and true emotion win over verbal fireworks and entrenched attitudes.

    • December 5, 2012 8:26 pm

      Hooray for Perpetua! Thank you for thinking ahead ;)!

      • dancingbeastie permalink*
        December 5, 2012 10:48 pm

        Oh, hurray again! Perpetua, you have done what I meant to do and didn’t. Thank you for returning our poem to us!

  6. December 5, 2012 10:52 pm

    Please to be of service. 🙂 If you’d like the background notes too, just say.

  7. December 7, 2012 7:25 pm

    I was disappointed to see the poems had vanished. Thank you to the commenter who posted one of their favourites here. I really like it.


  1. Bannockburn: we won! (again) « Dancing Beastie

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