Monday, 14 June 2010

(28) Jupiter Artland

Our Zuiganji is Jupiter Artland.

28 Apollo–St Just
Ken Cockburn, 2010

By Name

by the number 27 bus

Basho’s Oku is a string of nadokoro (‘places of name’): “a narrow road drawing a line across the map marked by place-names” (Miner). The journey’s title recalls the mountain paths of Michinoku. Many of Basho’s hokku grow from name:

before-pissing barrier

what with fleas and lice
the horse’s having a piss
right at the pillow

Other names are unpacked to reveal something hidden:



And some names are so refulgent as to be themselves a poem:

Matsushina ya
ay Matsushima ya
Matsushima ya

Beàrnaraigh –
aye Beàrnaraigh
Beàrnaraigh aye

Matsushima (found postcard)

Sometimes names come from – and sometimes they gather to them – bundled associations, Rest-and-be-Thankful, Smaa Glen, Cockbridge-to-Tomintoul.

A new name may be the foundation for a vision. Little Sparta is the territory IHF’s vision defined retrospectively, a decade after he and Sue began the garden at Stonypath. The name is supplementary, an act of redefining, not overwriting: the balance of the landscape and its meaning depends on the doubling of identity.

Territory is named inscription: a mental diagram of the relation of place, person and world. Naming is an instruction, sometimes lower-case practical, stony + path, sometimes Capital and insurrectionary, Little + Spartan. When Ailie and I were children we naturally named the fields around Stonypath, by their elements, The Quarry Field, The Roller Field. Further off were The Burn and The Spring.

28 Bonnington House
Ken Cockburn, 2010

The Jacobean landscape of Bonnington House was reinscribed by Robert & Nicky Wilson: Jupiter Artland. Here, in Year 7 of their project, family, home, woodland and park are overlayed with art.

it’s not that there
should be more here

or less
but that it balances

The horizon bears the lode of pink conical shale bings. I can remember how in the 1970s there would be regular debates on Reporting Scotland about what should be done to remedy these industrial eyesores. Now the bings are dotted with a fringe of green and defined as islands of biodiversity, supporting rare alpines, clubmoss, tall melilot, wintergreen, lichens, mosses and orchids. Nature is relentless with waste. The bings ecological renewal was predicted by John Latham in his visionary Niddrie Woman (1976), a post-archaeological act of naming that reimagined the derelict bings – Greendykes, Faucheldean, Niddry, and the great Westwood bing, ‘Five Sisters’ – as a matriarchal Lothian earth goddess. Revealed from the air, this found land art monument was made by name.

28 wishes (Copper Beech)
Alec Finlay, 2010

…most of the wind happens
where there are tree

– Paul Muldoon

I visited Jupiter before the journey proper began, spending a week in the stable flat, with its stove and shelf of little soaps lined up like days of the week. Everyday I took a walk to the far end of the wood, tying a wish on the copper beech.

28 Coriolis versicolour
Alec Finlay, 2010

colourful Coriolis ears
though the agents
are never stable

this little versicolour
ripples bands of blue
and mussel purple

The view north-east, through Gormley’s Firmament, showed the iron bridge we would cross on our trip to the two Lomonds, East and West Pap, and between them, the hidden orchard at Falkland, where Sonia’s apples were coming into bloom.

Nearer to Jupiter, plantswoman Maxine taught me the view over Crawsfield to James I hunting Lodge at Illieston, on the banks of the Almond, where someday she will sew a brocade of flowers.

6 years on
the gean for the lop
is bright with blossom


28 hokku-label | temple
Alec Finlay, 2010

One of the tasks our Basho journey set Ken and I was to find contemporary pairings for the temples that he visisted – from the ancient ‘barp’ at Langais, to the newly constructed outlook tower of Outlandia, Glen Nevis.

Here in their Artland the Wilson’s have erected a remarkable array of secular temples, for us to pair with Zuiganji:

Goldsworthy’s hall of rock
it’s only fault the crooked floor

IHF’s Apollo–St Just temple
and Sappho islanded in exile

Jencks’ grass curves
where adults walk inspirally
looping around each other

Kapoor’s Albert & The Lion
rusty void

Coley’s graves, the only thing
bare of names

Cornelia “double-barrel” Parker’s
startling shotgun

The seventh temple is the most beautiful: the wood, which runs from the entrance, where wood and rock wrestle in Goldsworthy’s coppice, and on to the Milkmaid’s Field.

you choose
to cling to the trunk

or climb branch
over branch

28 Fauna | Even Dogs...
Alec Finlay, 2010



At Zuiganji Basho wondered if the temple at Kenbutsu Hijiri might also be seen. At Bonnington I promised myself a trip back to walk up Tormain Hill, where cup and ring marked rocks define a geomantic ley line – described by Martin (Modern Antiquarian): “ the most amazing view of Edinburgh – I laughed! In a perfect row stood Corstorphine Hill, Berwick Law, Arthurs Seat, Traprain Law and the Braids Hills. What an amazing ancient skyline! What a place – 360 degree views all around the Lothians, Fife and beyond.”. The rocks pair with Ungo Zenji’s meditation stone, the Zazenseki, where he sat in meditation on his little pinewood island. Robert explained how the leys run from Tormain to Cairnpapple, Rosslyn and Schiehallion.

Le Weekend

Ken and I drank a dram of Glenkinchie (from Pencaitland, just over the Pentlands), with Robert & Nicky Wilson, exhausted from the new Summer season opening party.

Glenmorangie it turns out
bottled just over the hill

Ken sat on a tree-stump watching the spring leaves playing the wind, versifying the Parkland, from the elevation of Jencks spiral mound.

dandelions and mushrooms
colonise the Life Mounds

a hoodie flies lazily
from one quadrant to the next

stop running Tom!
Tom stops running
Tom is about to start running

in the middle of their paddock
all the donkeys
flat out in the sun

black budded of Queen of Night
needs more spring sun to open
winter shadow



Jupiter Artland is a contemporary sculpture garden in the ground sof Bonnington House, near Edinburgh. For details of your visit see:
(55°54'3.09"N) (3°25'16.17"W)

the road north is a journey that will conclude in 53 audio | visual word-maps: poems describing different locations, typeset in the form of skylines and other natural features, accompanied by recordings in a variety of voices. The poetic mapping of Scotland will be available from May 16, 2011. In the meantime, visit the website of our recently completed word-map for the Peak District National Park, white peak | dark peak.

Friday, 11 June 2010

(2) Falkland

Our Great Senju Bridge is the Forth. Our Ueno and Yanaka are the orchard at Falkland Palace and the walk up Maspie Den to West Lomond.

2 Forth Rail Bridge | Great Senju Bridge
Alec Finlay, 2010

Departing Edo

waking for sleep
books & maps
piled up on the bed

Today the journey begins. Crossing the bridge, keeping our eyes on the two paps of Lomond that will mark our journeys north.

approaching The Bridge
my fingers can’t help
feeling for change

crossing into the Kingdom
there’s our first Ben
shrouded in mist

From the road we glimpse The Pinnels and Carlin Maggie’s pinnacle. Arriving at the
Pillars of Hercules a little before midday, the soup’s ready and it’s warm enough to sit outside by the polytunnels. A tame chaffie takes oatcake crumbs.

the birds
at Pillars of Hercules

are as tame
as birds

carlin willow
teepee frames

grow things
by magic

I speak about QR-code to the shop owner. He’s never heard of QR, wonders at first what we’re trying to sell him, then when he grasps we’re only trading in images, says yes, they’ll be happy to put up a plaque come May 2011. Arriving in Falkland, it’s workman’s lunchtime at the Wee Bakery, opposite the Palace. We make our way along West Loan, past
Tom Clark’s hidden place sign, to the Centre for Stewardship, and meet Tess Darwin, author of A Scottish Herbal, and Helen Lawrenson, who it turns out worked, like Ken, for Graeme Murray at the Fruitmarket Gallery, but almost a decade after his time. These fields here will host the Big Tent Festival in July.

torn between applause
and holding hands
in the audience

from a renga day Colin Will mastered at the 2007 Festival.


West Lomond

I leave Eck by the pond, sat on the round bench, which bears another poem of Tom’s:

to flow away continually
to be constantly replenished

– and set off over the Maspie Burn following the path uphill through the trees. This takes me past Onesiphorous Tyndall-Bruce’s House of Falkland (a school now), into Maspie (“mossy”) Den, losing my bearings at times, till I find the path upstream. New plantings on its banks, but gales have felled many older taller trees. “The path goes round the ledge underneath the waterfall” – soft stone under hard – I need to crouch only slightly as I make my way round the damp corridor. This is the Big Yad – “yad” being yarn as it co mes of the bobbin – the weavers are going easy today.

Past the car-park at Craigmead the track leads towards West Lomond – looks a long way off but probably no more than a mile. The hill rises steeply from the moor. Climbing’s labour, but the summit brings elation, a cairn, stones arranged in circles for shelter, and a little metal memorial plaque placed against the trig point. I look back towards East Lomond. Down the south slope, looking on Bishop’s Hill – have I time to reach Glen Vale cave? My dad camped there when he was young (last bus from Kirkcaldy to Falkland, walk to the cave, then down in the morning to Leslie for the bus back). That will be for another day. I’m happy walking; this is a good way to live. Just before Craigmead I leave the path and look north to the knoll where Maiden Castle sits, but there’s not much to see.

2 Bench, Thomas A. Clark
Paul Turner


Falkland Palace Orchard
The Orchard was a perfect pair with Ueno. Blossoms beginning, the orchard a gentle bowl under the hill. Ken’s up there. Sharing a flask of hongcha with Sonia, from Spain, who lives in the gardener's cottage and cares for the manicured garden and wilder apples, I recognise some of the names of the new Scottish varieties, from a complete list the arboriculturalist
John Butterworth prepared: Early Julyan, Bloody Ploughman, White Paradise. Apple Day is the third Sunday in October. I hope to be there, second in line, for some pippins.



When Maris and I composed a word-map of the glen at Cairnhead, we found a clutch of crab apple near Back Burn, a shepherds leftover hidden in the Forestry plantation.

Why aren’t there apples along every roadside? A couple of years ago Ann-Marie sent me a set of postcards for Abundance, a voluntary project in Sheffield harvesting buckshee fruit from around the city and redistributing to nurserys, community cafes, the family’s of asylum seekers and local charities. It’s successfully grafted in Leeds and Edinburgh. My scion was to give 50 native apple varieties to family’s in a new Sunderland housing estate, with the help of the National Glass Centre and The National Fruit Collection Nursery, Brogdale.

Apple Colour Wheel

Alec Finlay with Jack Lowe, 2010

When I mention Basho’s Yanaka, where people stroll among the graves on weekends and holidays, Sonia leads me down to the Maspie, where the Crichton-Stuart’s little dog cemetry is tucked away in a far corner of the orchard:





Sat on my bench, here comes Alodie, from South Africa, waiting on the bus to Newburgh, with a big bundle of comfrey from Pillars of Hercules. I talk fritters, she has the recipe for 3rd degree burns. Here’s Ken, down from his hill.


2 hokku-label (apple)
Alec Finlay, 2010

Kingskettle, High Tea

Off we drive to Kingskettle to visit Ella Wildridge. She was the partner of
Tom McGrath, playwright and poet, until Tom’s death just over a year ago. I knew Tom in the late '90s, worked with him for three years in his cluttered office upstairs in the Lyceum in Edinburgh. Sometimes that work was just sitting listening to him talk, about the past, sure – he had great tales of Trocchi in the sixties – but of the present too, his own new work and the younger playwrights he was supporting, looking to the future. I visited him once at Ash Villa, after his stroke, when he seemed as energetic as ever. today Ella is sitting in the spacious front garden, right by the railway line, and serves us a high tea of sandwiches and cake.

if a blackbird
comes down
that’ll be Tom

Sharing the Auchentoshan, we go over our day and the days to come, Ella’s Spanish studies at St Andrews, Tom’s poems and bundles of papers she’s still to sort, and her plans to offer residencies for playwrights and translators at the house. Eck outlines his notion of Stonypath, Little Sparta as a place for artists’ residencies, as the truest way to memorialise Ian and Sue. As we go Ella shows us where there was a blackbird’s nest, in a part of the garden Tom had made a little Buddhist shrine.

2 Ella, Ash Villa
Ken Cockburn, 2010



Pillars of Hercules (56°15'37.62"N) (3°13'37.63"W) there is a footpath from here to the Stewardship Centre (56°15'14.90"N) (3°12'27.67"W); continue from there up Maspie Den to East and West Lomond (56°14'42.06"N) (3°17'50.55"W); alternatively walk downhill, to the orchard in the grounds of Falkland Palace (entrance fees apply).

the road north is a journey that will conclude in 53 audio | visual word-maps: poems describing different locations, typeset in the form of skylines and other natural features, accompanied by recordings in a variety of voices. The poetic mapping of Scotland will be available from May 16, 2011. In the meantime, visit the website of our recently completed word-map for the Peak District National Park, white peak | dark peak.


The walk from Pillars of Hercules to the Stewardship Centre passes by the Talking Wall, a series of real and imagined Scots words, carved into a dry-stane dyke by the Scottish Letter Carvers Association

Re-Sounding Falkland
David Chapman and Louise K Wilson,
May 29 & 30, 2010

Tess Darwin,
The Scots Herbal: The Plant Lore of Scotland (Birlinn)

The Tom McGrath Trust is set up to honour the life and legacy of Tom McGrath, poet, playwright and creative maverick, who died in 2009.