The Holyrood Wall

On my way to the Scottish Poetry Library today for a meeting between writers (especially poets) who work in prisons, and members of the Scottish Prison Service and other involved parties (I’ll blog more on this at a later date), I walked past the wall of the Scottish Parliament. For those who don’t know, the wall has insets of characteristic Scottish rocks, and 24 panels bearing quotations. Two new panels were formally launched today, with lines from Oh Dear Me (The Jute Mill Song) by the Dundee songwriter Mary Brooksbank, and an extract from A Man In Assynt by Norman MacCaig.

Later, I was reminded by Douglas Dunn, who had been at the Parliament’s ceremony, that Mary Brooksbank is thus far the first woman to be represented on the wall. When I think of the wide range of women poets who could have been considered, I find that surprising, to say the very least.

However, my reason for posting today is that I wonder if it might be a reasonable ambition for today’s poets, to have a phrase or statement incised on a panel on the parliament’s outer curtain wall? Is there a phrase that you’ve written that you’d like to bequeath to posterity? Or does the idea not appeal?


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
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7 Responses to The Holyrood Wall

  1. Davide Trame says:

    Dear Colin, I feel there are many phrases I would like to bequeath but not exactly to posterity but to those living now, and really delivering these phrases is very hard, being aware of the maze of crowding phrases wheeled around…I feel by the way that one writes for him/herself then, later, with the rest of energy that remains the tension comes about bequeathing sentences…then I think that those living in the present will decide whether or not to deliver the sentence to posterity, but in the meantime time will have passed and most of us will never know…

    All my best, Davide

  2. sunnydunny says:

    Absolutely right Davide. It’s not a matter for us to decide, and sometimes the phrases readers enjoy are not the ones I’d have picked.

  3. sorlil says:

    I don’t think it should be limited to parliament, I think local council-owned buildings – town halls, schools etc should have phrases from local poets carved into them.

  4. Rachel Fox says:

    I am an out-and-proud chest-beater as you know and though far too English for the wall you speak of you could have my “let’s dream of kindness every day” if you like (from ‘A dream is a song of hope’). In fact you could have the whole last verse. And if you could arrange for bugles to sound every time someone walks past it that would be OK too. Subtlety? Humbug.

    Failing that a line or two from ‘Just like the dinosaurs’ might do it. How about ‘Look carefully, watch/See us as we disappear”?

    And on. And on….

  5. sunnydunny says:

    sorlil: Would you trust your local councillors to choose the best quotations? I wouldn’t be happy with my lot doing it, and two of them are friends of mine.

    rachel: way to go! I love your suggestions.

  6. sorlil says:

    You could have the council select a number of quotes which could be then put to the vote say through the local paper.

  7. sunnydunny says:

    I suspect that my local council would look around for a local expert who would give them the advice for nothing, and I have a fair idea who they’d ask.

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