Max’s ‘Snowglobes’ is a wonderful summary of a nation, outlining how the landscape and the people unite to provoke the strongest of emotions, and taking a fresh look at Scotland’s ‘stereotypes’, embracing them instead of rejecting them.


by Max Scratchman

They brought me here at six years old and told me that I was home,

Told me that the wet and cold were in my blood and that I’d soon get used to them,

And I looked at the grey light and the damp cramped rooms and howled for the India that had raised me,

The cerise and lime saris of the surrogate who had given me life and then,

So abruptly,

Handed me, screaming, back to my frigid motherland.


And yet, like it or not, she had fashioned me in her likeness,

This brusque, rough, inhospitable land with a people steeped in brutal common sense and maudlin sentimentality,

Its school-of-hard-knocks sensibilities hewn from girders,

Hard-drinking lovers of all things fried and endless plates of mince and Tunnock’s biscuits.


And, Scotland, I have come to love your songs and your moods,

Your sunsets blazing from Arthur’s Seat to the Old Man of Hoy,

The harsh music of the Orkneys and the mellow red sandstone blush of Kelvinside.


My pulse beats to the swelling tides of the Clyde and Tay and the Forth,

From the stony beaches of Arbroath and Broughty Ferry,

To the crowsteps and clattering kerbstones of Kirkwall,

And the lowering Presbyterian spires of Aberdeen,

Plus a million and one majestic skies painted in the bold strokes of sunset oranges and steely grey dawn hues.


And I have marched with the shipbuilders and woken with their songs ringing in my ears in harmony with the clatter of the jute mills,

I have watched the fishing fleets catching the dawn tide,

Joined my voice with the indignant cries of Hector MacMillan and John McGrath from the red velvet curtains of His Majesty’s to the stripped back proscenium of the Citizens,

Walked the hills of dreams revisited from the Barras to the Byres Road,

Ambled in the galleries of the Mound and admired the graffiti murals of a Kirkton council estate,

All pieces of the jigsaw, threads of the tapestry of this,








Proud and welcoming land that I have,


Learned to call home.


Read the other winners:

Promenade By James Carson

Homesickness By Katriona Kerr

Photo Credit : Arthur’s Seat Sunset by Tattie62