From Govan by Katharine Macfarlane

Katharine Macfarlane’s lyrical poetry is rooted in the history and landscape of the west of Scotland. She is currently the Harpies, Fechters and Quines Slam Champion and the Four Cities Slam Champion 2016. Katharine has recently performed with the Loud Poets in Glasgow and at the Belladrum Festival in Inverness, and hosted her first solo show, Home Words, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Her work has appeared in Untitled, The Grind, and The Write Angle.

Govan was the main religious centre for the Kingdom of Strathclyde. As part of his attempt to create a cohesive ‘Scottish’ identity for his kingdom, David I established a new religious centre and burgh with trading rites at Glasgow. Glasgow very quickly grew to overshadow the previous centre of Govan. The Old Parish Church in Govan still houses the remains of glorious early medieval stone sculptures that provide a glimpse of the importance of Govan in its ‘glory days’.


From Govan


Younger sister, I see you sitting there.
Fair and prosperous,
With your pick of men
And fine attire.
Your painted face held aloft
Seeking kisses from the world.

I cannot help but think
Of the days when men flocked to my side.
And what have I to show for it now?
A collection of stones,
Not precious gems from all the world
But hogbacks and broken crosses.

Beware the tales you tell sister
For those stories become your truth.
And one day they may have no need of your bell or your fish or your tree.

Katharine can be reached via her Facebook page, Home Words. More of her work can be found here.