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Annual Volume 43 (2013)


Scottish War Poetry

Edited by David Goldie and
Roderick Watson

Published in: Hardback, 232 pages
By: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, Glasgow, March 2014
Price: £12.50
ISBN 9781906841164

“The poems in this superb and revelatory collection take one to the heart of war”
Scottish Review of Books

Many who endured the two catastrophic global conflicts of the twentieth century chose not to speak – or could not speak – of what they saw and suffered. But some could turn to poetry, to try to make sense of what was happening.

From the Line brings together the best of Scotland’s poetry from the two World Wars: 138 poems, from fifty-six poets, are represented here, from both men and women, from battlefields across the world and from the Home Front, too.

Some reflect on the loss of peace, or mourn the death of friends and comrades. Some tell of traumas that can never be shaken off, others of an intensity that would never be found again – but there is hope, too, and moments of humour, compassion and decency that still survive.


David Goldie is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde, and has written extensively on the literatures of the First World War.

Roderick Watson is Professor Emeritus in English Studies at the University of Stirling. Himself a published poet, he has written and lectured widely on Scottish literature and cultural identity.




POEMS 1914–1918

Marion Angus
   Remembrance Day
Archibald Allan Bowman
   from ‘In the Field’
   from ‘Rastatt’
John Buchan
   On Leave
   Home Thoughts from Abroad
   The Great Ones
   Fisher Jamie
R. W. Campbell
   The Border Breed
   The Advice of McPhee
   The Camerons (K1)
William Cameron
   Speak not to me of War!
W. D. Cocker
   The Sniper
   Storm Memories
   from ‘Sonnets in Captivity’
John MacDougall Hay
   Their Sons
   from ‘The Call’
Violet Jacob
   To A. H. J
   The Field by the Lirk o’ the Hill
   The Road to Marykirk
Roderick Watson Kerr
   From the Line
   The Corpse
   A Dead Man
   June, 1918
Joseph Lee
   The Bullet
   The Green Grass
   German Prisoners
   The Carrion Crow
Walter Lyon
   I tracked a dead man down a trench
   The Blue is Bright
MacKenzie MacBride
   Shouther Airms!
Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna (Donald MacDonald)
   Òran Arras / The Song of Arras
Patrick MacGill
   After Loos
   The Night Before and the Night After the Charge
   A Vision
Pittendrigh MacGillivray
   A Woman in the Street
E. A. Mackintosh
   Anns an Gleann’san Robh Mi Og
   Cha Till MacCruimein
   In Memoriam
   The Volunteer
   The Dead Men
Hamish Mann
   The Soldier
   The Digger
   The Barriers
   A Song
Charles Scott-Moncrieff
   Back in Billets
Iain Rothach (John Munro)
   Ar Tir / Our Land
   Ar Gaisgich a Thuit sna Blàir / Our Heroes who Fell in Battle
Neil Munro
   Hey, Jock, are ye glad ye ’listed?
Charles Murray
   A Sough o’ War
   When will the war be by?
   Dockens Afore his Peers
Murchadh Moireach (Murdo Murray)
   Luach na Saorsa / The Value of Freedom
Alexander Robertson
   Written in Hospital, Provence
   Spencer loquitur: Moi, j’écoute en riant
J. B. Salmond
   The Unveiling
   Twenty Years Ago
Charles Hamilton Sorley
   All the hills and vales along
   When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Mary Symon
   The Soldiers’ Cairn
   After Neuve Chapelle
   A Whiff o’ Hame

POEMS 1939–1945

J. K. Annand
   Atlantic 1941
   Action Stations
   Arctic Convoy
Edward Boyd
   Visibility Zero
   ENSA Concert
   Sergeant-Pilot D. A. Crosbie
Norman Cameron
   Green, Green is El Aghir
G. S. Fraser
   A Winter Letter
   S.S. City of Benares
Olive Fraser
   The Home Fleet
Robert Garioch
   Kriegy Ballad
   Letter from Italy
   During a Music Festival
Flora Garry
   Ambulance Depot, 1942
   War: 1939–1945
Jack Gillespie
   Gillespie’s Leave
Deòrsa Mac Iain Deòrsa (George Campbell Hay)
   Bisearta / Bizerta
   Esta Selva Selvaggia / This Savage Wood
Hamish Henderson
   from Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica
   First Elegy: End of a Campaign
   Seventh Elegy: Seven Good Germans
   Anzio April
   The 51st Highland Division’s Farewell to Sicily
J. F. Hendry
   London Before Invasion, 1940
   Question and Answer
   The Return
Michael Hinton
   The Traveller
Maurice Lindsay
   London, September 1940
   The Trigger
Hugh MacDiarmid
   from ‘The Kind of Poetry I Want’
Somhairle MacGill-Eain (Sorley MacLean)
   Dol an Iar / Going Westwards
   Curaidhean / Heroes
   Glac à Bhàis / Death Valley
   Latha Foghair / An Autumn Day
Calum MacLeòid (Malcolm MacLeod)
Colin McIntyre
   Motor Transport Officer
Naomi Mitchison
   London Burning
   Siren Night
   The Farm Woman: 1942
William Montgomerie
   The Edge Of The War (1939–)
   Thirty Years After
Edwin Morgan
   from The New Divan (1977)
Edwin Muir
   The River
Myra Schneider
   Drawing a Banana
Alexander Scott
   The Sodgers
   Twa Images
Duncan Shaw
Sydney Goodsir Smith
   from ‘Armageddon in Albyn’
   I. El Alamein
   II. The Mither’s Lament
   III. The Convoy
   IV. The Sodjer’s Sang
   V. Simmer Lanskip
   VI. Mars and Venus at Hogmanay
   VII. The War in Fife
   October 1941
Louise Findlay Stewart
   The Sea-Wolf
William J. Tait
   Tattoo (1938)
   First Raid
Ruthven Todd
   The Drawings for Guernica
   It Was Easier
   These Are Facts
Sydney Tremayne
Douglas Young
   Leaving Athens
   For Alasdair

Biographical Notes


Cover image: part of the bronze frieze which excircles the Shrine of the Scottish National War Memorial, Edinburgh Castle.
© RCAHMS (Scottish Colorfoto Collection).
Cover design: Mark Blackadder.

Last updated 6 February 2014.