four poems commissioned for SHIFT
Exhibition Catalogue, The Lighthouse, Glasgow, 2007, on theme of the
landscape of the Central Belt.
here subside is from words gathered by placing pages from the
Clyde Valley Regional Plan, 1946[i]
relating to mining subsidence over a map showing areas liable to subside and
selecting only those words or part-words that occurred within these areas. The
words of the poem have been extracted from the second paragraph and the lines
allowed to subside into the spaces left.
blaes (scroll down to see full text) The spoil of the oil shale industry is called blaes. For every ten barrels of oil extracted, seven tonnes of waste were produced.[ii] Blue (blae) when first disposed of, it weathers to red. Hardened and sterilised by the heat of the extraction process it forms an excellent substrate for the regeneration of plant and wildlife. The oil shale bings of West Lothian, unique in the UK and Western Europe, are now viewed as sites of great ecological and scientific importance as well as being of historical, educational and recreational value. Having lived within sight of hills all my life, I very much sympathised with the population of the West Lothian town that campaigned against the flattening of a local bing as it was their closest approximate to scenery.
Blaes also makes a very good
road building material. The M8 and M9 are bottomed with it.
[i] Abercrombie, Sir P., and Matthew, R. H., The
[ii] Harvie, B.A.,West Lothian Local Biodiversity Plan: Oil Shale Bings, West Lothian Council, Linlithgow, 2005, p. 4.
[iv] See Harvie, above.
MacKenzie, F., The Natural Heritage Interest of Bings (waste tips) in
Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage,Edinburgh