The Republic of Hope

To conclude (but not close) our week long celebration of women writers  – we’re delighted to publish a handful of poems by Lorna Waite, from her forthcoming collection The Steel Garden. We tried to change the space this week and Bella will continue to try and build a wider base of contributors – email us your articles at [email protected] All week we’ve changed it so that all our posts and all our feeds were from women. Did you notice? Does it matter? We are keen to hear your feedback? What’s good about the poems from Lorna is that this is a change not in just content but in form. Enjoy.

Embody The Republic Of Hope

I embody knowledge of the republic of hope,

A slanty, oblique view of the watercourse of history,

The flow, emerging, receding, bounded,

A constant opening of channels, rivulets of words

Streaming down from the Ayrshire hills

Backing us up, a robust defence

For the south-facing valley of seven furnaces

And the winding of the yarn,

Stories woven into woman’s bodies, memory retreats

Of nets of belonging, nature’s mathematical form

In the furnace hearth, the flowering of firebricks

Petals from Pitcon, Etna, Dalry –

The mountain of Hephaestos wiz here!

Place-map of forged warmth

From the field of the kings,

Birthplace of the first lover,

Witchboy of my fledgling dream,

Safety with the blues face of music,

I remember your dedication

Of the red rose.


Classical Blastie ruins, our Parthenon,

Lie crumbled and forlorn under the hammer –

The Ayrshire yarn dyeing company

Dies without respect, the river runs through your shame

We know her power, she is our sound.

The lost objects have been retrieved,

Frontiers of meaning gathered in translation,

Three tongues of history, a section of the body –

Latham understood the heart

The art of she rises from the moist ground,

Flood tide has passed and homes recover,

New measures for protection exist

From your source, atone for neglect –

The flow of the notation of your life

Simple, practical, already known by us.

We are the folk of the Garnock

Hill, glen, burn, wool, steel, water

A valley section, truly ours,

The river pulses, hearts beat to her accompaniment

My veins of water, I drink from wells of memory

The Clyde will make room for your opening

Northeast to south west, a mirror image to other journeys

Ancestral movements, a familiar pattern

Template to embodiment, I ripple with your energy –

All flows southwest, the sacred direction of the Gaels.

Goldenberry Hill shimmers with nuclear light,

The Three Sisters are envisioned from the hilltop.



The Playing Fields of Class Blame

All bewail the voiced mask of the new puritan –

The broken country awakes to the

New blame on the plasma screen

Of colonial pleasures, my shame is your delight

Platelets for the supply of war

Fodder, fertilised by the decaying bodies

Of the Scottish working class

On poppy fields far from wildflowers

Hackles are raised peacefully

On the myopic red lens of the dreamer.


Disarming facts permit old boundaries of sense

On the common weal of memory

Counting dead factories, soldiers,

National debt, guilt mines

Of subsidised belonging –

Pages of the old naming flutter

On a strong breeze, I plant feet

On words detached from playing fields

Without the laugh of women

With furious tongues, lashings of

New sentences for the entitlement

Of decency and voice, classed of course.


Full of accented vowels of protest,

Snapping a disobedience with cool sharp

Mouth spilling your rage

Back to you, across the closed gate

Of the motherless places

Where you learn to order the killings.



The Ayrshire Masque of Learning

In my masque of learning, I am broken-hearted, hopeful Coila

An industrial earthiness hewing lifeblood from soil,

Greener now with tilled care, I will ask the smith god

To make anew industrial objects of a visionary future –

The young steps walking empty dereliction

Of the main street find no civic pride in decaying statue.

Wordless, children were expected to remain so,

Women, banished still from the clubs of the Bard –

Aphrodite would dance within enclosure of fenced erotic

Mind and open the gates for the lassies to enter –

Hear the muse, brothers, of the backgreen,

Your daughters’ mouths and the educated of your ain kind.


I am dear -bought Bess, the unfathered daughter,

Early sociologist of chip shop, café, dyework.

A higher education awaited, society rewarded the poor then,

You did not charge me for the opportunity to learn –

People of Scotland, I invest my interest in your soul

Wholeheartedly, no debts to repay –

Harder to embody the communist spirit, west coast politics,

A radical hairline fracture, red and yellow bilious energies,

Tinges of blue scorn, a barren grey-suited,

Past of laboured indifference.


Black and yellow team colours worn by the new

Breed a new homeopathic alchemy of words

Free from southern neighbours, hopeful

Compensation for the end of the colonial game

I have gone past the adolescence of history

No more mealy-mouthed compromise of power

With the absent father of the absent fathered.


Call time on this dance with devolution –

A staggered reel of dancers spiral north,

Fluid and organic like the tail of a comet.

Did you sabotage us, injure us,

Give us no say, for us just to take it?

Open your eyes to the Oedipal quest.

My soul does not believe your lies, ye see,

At heart who can deny the step dancing of the free –

Covert shadows have less territory to roam

We see the up close nature of monotheistic

Landowning, headshrinking power

It was always going to be so.


I am The Star o Rabbie Burns today

Coming home, meeting internal exiles from other regions,

In the inspiring capital of multiple interiors –

The army patrol the frontier of the fairytale,

The military occupation of the birch grove and sacred well

Rests uneasy with the pacifist Blastie, taught by Dick Sneddon

To be the hope of the town. “The future is in you.”

Underground cupboards store weapons, not hope,

Erase a history named only with faint grey lines

Of charcoal, yet secrets still remain.


In a firepit of burning maps

I am the place of my first kiss,

The first crossing of a tear-stained threshold,

The door to the wild garden, bronzed in my imagination

A guardian of steel dreams, the water came

And told you her unkempt story

The housekeeping is given to the women workers,

Streets are fashioned with colour, movement trails brush away decay,

All the economic dusting of history cleansed again –

Hard shifts better performed by free people,

The four letter words of human dreaming

So short and easy to say;

Love hope kiss free song bird hill mind

Need more energy to speak

And wrestle with the labour of naming

Cage, lock and fear –

The pregnancy of a republic, a society of free women,

Will be born through the contracting muscles of time

Every woman knows this.

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  1. chaserjay says:

    Thank you for such fine words. I particularly liked The Playing Fields of Class Blame.

    I look forward to The Steel Garden.
    All quite brilliant.

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