Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

Heart of the Travelling People – Open Poetry Day


This is what is known as ‘the tinkers’ heart’ on the road near Strachur. It is a place that is very special to the traveller community, and there is a campaign, run by Jess Smith, to have it marked as a place of historic significance. You can see the campaign page here: Saving-the-heart-of-the-Travelling-People.

On Saturday last I was up there for the Open Poetry Day, an afternoon of poetry and music, organised by Jess Smith, author and traditional story teller, and my friend Sally Evans, poet and publisher and organiser of the famous Callander Poetry Weekend. It was all a bit wet and windy to have the event in the open air as we had hoped, but we repaired to the very hospitable Creggans Inn in Strachur.

There were two competitions as part of the day, one for haibun writing,  judged by Colin Will, whose latest collection The Book of Ways, was the inspiration for the competition, and one for spoken poetry, judged with great generosity and insight by Jess.

Jess Smith
Jess Smith

The spoken word competion was won by Mo Blake

Mo Blake
Mo Blake

and I’m delighted and very honoured to say that my haibun, Northern Stones, won the haibun competition. It will be published in Poetry Scotland later this year.


Jess was planning to read poetry composed by members of the Traveller community, which I was sorry to miss, but we had to leave early to get to Edinburgh for an evening event. However, we were there for some music provided by Wullie Purcell and Magi McGlynn.

Wullie and Magi
Wullie and Magi

Many thanks to Sally, Jess, Colin and all the poets who travelled to the event from all over Scotland to be there. It was lovely!




6 responses to “Heart of the Travelling People – Open Poetry Day”

  1. […] And as for poetry, this year has been a stunner. In summer I won the Poetry Scotland Haibun Competition. […]

  2. David Muir Avatar
    David Muir

    The Tinker’s Heart. In loving memory of Rachel Townsley

    Near Strachur on the open road,
    The Tinker’s heart ,wrought in stone
    A guid heart,there and a pure heart there than many may say they own
    I am older now, and the surge of youth
    Has ebbed, and the light grows dim
    An autumn chill on a life once full
    And horizons I can’t attain
    I sit beside a false fire now,electricity pretends
    But my love for her is a sacred bower that still fans the leaping flame
    A tinker girl, and all my own,and my heart’s first glance held true
    To the heart wise and the azure eyes and her hair like a great Halo.

    1. Elizabeth Avatar

      Thank you for sharing this, David. A lovely poem.

      1. David Muir Avatar
        David Muir

        Hi Elizabeth, thanks so much, we had a few years together before I lost her to cancer,she was thirty six when she died

        1. Elizabeth Avatar

          Oh, so young! I am so sorry for your loss.

          1. David Muir Avatar
            David Muir

            Thank you Elizabeth,I thought you might like this one I wrote for her many years ago,.

            A LOVE POEM
            In praise of Rachel

            For you,I’d walk down all the days
            What praise I’d heap:
            More than enough to make a black man blush.
            And yet: though you are fair
            And though your hair,I’d climb ten Castle’s walls
            For that alone my dear.
            And yet, not all these locks that charm my heart,lustrous and lovely though they are in spades.
            Nor how you dress,as comely as that is,
            And not your modesty,although my love has this.It’s not your grace
            Though Grace is what you are.
            My heart,it does not race,to see you from afar
            You are my love,my love,so so much more than vain or mere desire.
            It’s who you are,that has me so ensnared.
            I,willing captive,walk into your gaze,and bathe in pools of eyes
            Limpid and lovely in their earnestness.
            And when I’m with you,only you my love
            My heart’s enlargement seeks its source in you
            My world turned round,and round in me when first we met
            And now,yes,here and now,with you.
            Earth grows so dim and all the world’s our stage.

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