Dec 12 2012 By Gregor White
Words by a Stirling University professor will adorn a restored timber ring beam at the new Bannockburn heritage site.
Kathleen Jamie’s poem was selected as the best among 10 commissioned entries, chosen by a combination of public online votes and a judging panel that included Scots Makar Liz Lochhead.
An essayist and travel writer as well as a poet, Kathleen became Professor of Creative Writing at Stirling University last year and her poem will adorn the beam which runs around the outside of the Robert the Bruce rotunda monument at the Bannockburn site.
Kathleen said: “I wanted this piece to make a nod to the Scottish literary tradition. More than a nod - a profound bow.”
And Liz Lochhead added: “One of the great difficulties in composing poetry on a national theme is to avoid what sounds like a slogan - slogans are the enemy of poetry.
“The poets who tackled the subject of the Bannockburn site used an impressive variety of strategies to make real poems, and do justice to the subject.
“Kathleen Jamie’s poem impressed me with its clarity and condensed language - the right language for an inscription and for reflection.”
The chair of the judging panel, Robyn Marsack, Director of the Scottish Poetry Library, said: “Given the long tradition of famous poems about Bannockburn, the development of contemporary work providing reflections on the site and its history has been very exciting indeed.
“Kathleen Jamie’s poem is a moving meditation on the relationship between people and their land, taking it beyond nationalism to what is enduring.”
The wooden beam and the concrete structure of the rotunda are currently undergoing conservation and cleaning work, expected to take until around the middle of next year with the site, including a new Bannockburn Heritage Centre due to open in time for the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn in 2014.
It’s also hoped all ten of the finalist poems will be published together.
Kathleen Jamie’s poem:
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.