Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Poem: The Kirk o' Shotts

Driving along the M8 motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow there are few landmarks of any note. It is arguably the least scenic road in Scotland, which is a shame as it is the most travelled. This is why there are a few art projects scattered along the route, like the Heavy Horse in North Lanarkshire, the Teletubbies-style horn at Harthill and the Pyramids in West Lothian.

However the landmark that catches my eye the most is the Kirk o' Shotts. This bare, simple box of a building sits on a spine of land above the M8, crowning the grey-clouded moors at the border between Lothian and Lanarkshire. It is a landmark like Muirkirk, a reminder of the austerity of the Scottish kirk, a place strong in the Covenanting tradition, a place that is an enduring symbol of a faith that is largely gone from this land.

The Kirk o' Shotts sits shivering on the spine
a hilltop box to conjure the divine
whose graves are mouldering away.

On road bypass, to commerce east and west
our cars drive fast, at baron boss bequest
with time growing shorter by the day.

Turn off the road and stop.
Consider the Kirk o' Shotts.

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