landscape/pilgrimage: the Scotswomen


July 2012

The following poem was written in summer 2011, after a tour along the Scottish coasts, mountains (bens), lakes (lochs) and winding roads. In these landscapes one senses mythical power, age and wisdom. The mythical sculptures made by the Glaswegian artist Andy Scott became the "scotswomen", the characters featuring in this poem, telling about their land.


fast moving clouds curve this infinity
we were here, and have always been
the Scotswomen, the ancient muses
we are this land, but remain unseen
-for most.
hidden in rocks, in ruined castles
wanderers will find our traces
our voices tell forgotten myths
still waters reflect our faces

II origins
the glens are our cradle
from their depth we were born
their cracks, their veins, their solitude
our bens alive, stand silent in storm

III beginnings
continuously moving, meandering stream
cutting through landscape, a shining knife
we fall, we run, we somersault
the Well brings us to life

IV reflections
in lochs with myths and monsters
we dwell, we swim and play
under these silent mirrors
our hidden treasures lay

V paths
they are our age, we shaped them
the paths to the end of land
our footsteps carved the ways to coast
in grass, in stone, in sand

VI coast
it is always here that we arrive
at the verge of land and seas
dramatic clouds embrace the bays
our wings are leaning trees

VII castles
the conquering human hand appears
stacking stones in walls of height
in empty rooms we gather
whisper stories in the night

VIII gardens
on islands and on sheltered beds
the settlers planted trees
when gardens saturate of rain
we are the dew on leaves

IX towns
at the junctions of our paths
along our streams and bays
we laid the seeds for settlements
white houses touched by rays

X figures
a Scott then came and shaped our frames
welded our wings and hands
he raised our chins, he gave us names
he placed us in our land.