Stories that bring the world together


Teenagers doing outdoor writing activities

The Cairngorms Lyric is a new kind of poem I invented in 2019 when I was Cairngorms National Park Writer in Residence, facilitating Shared Stories: A Year in the Cairngorms. It is inspired by poetic forms like the Japanese Haiku and the American Sentence, but unique to the Cairngorms.

The Cairngorms Lyric is made up of:

  1. fifteen words*
  2. an element of nature from the Cairngorms
  3. a word or name of non-English origin

It’s called a ‘Lyric’ because it’s a poetic form that normally expresses personal feelings but encompasses a wide range of styles and structures. The Shared Stories project was all about encouraging people to respond creatively to nature through words, helping us to express how much people and nature need one another to thrive. Lyrics are also the words to songs and in Scotland there has always been a strong link between poetry and music.

Here are some examples of Cairngorms Lyrics from the Shared Stories project:

Redpolls and siskins upside down in the birkin branches; 
In the forest many lifetimes deep. 
Carolyn Robertson
A-slop, a-squelch, a-splorroch.
Wellies tugged back by the peaty yerth.
Playfully we leap on home.
Victoria Myles
Spring rises from her kip to find her bed filled with snow.
Winter willnae go.
Merryn Glover

Click here for the story of how it began.

Try some yourself and share them online with the hashtag #CairngormsLyric!

You may like to visit our Scottish National Parks’ Literary Landscapes resource for inspiration.