Interrobang* by Stirling Makar Laura Fyfe

Stirling Makar and alumna, Laura Fyfe (MLT Creative Writing, 2016) was asked to collate memories, anecdotes and sensory details from our student and alumni community to compose a collective poem that could be shared worldwide. We hope you enjoy reminiscing and are transported back to life on campus.

Here we learned how to make a difference.

Here we nurtured our dreams

and became the difference.

Laura (Turnbull) Fyfe


Return again to the days we mapped out what the world could be, the nights we spanned a thousand possible lives. Home for a while.

Look again with your eyes wide open:

the ground lusters, restless and layered with memory // light as the darting of damselflies // quick as loch shimmer // fleeting as the pip of oystercatchers // the soft silver of rabbit fur in the gloaming // sky-haze and distant hills // castles settled in mist

the trees hold our secrets, shed them // blossom on the breeze lines our path // following the curve of swan-sails, the rough call of crows // blue whale bones rest // halls gaze down on water reflecting on the movement of clouds // sunshine unfurls us // the ground shifts with infant frogs // metamorphosis complete, all they must do is grow

rain thunders // the landscape melts down glass // mascara on foam-partied faces // treading boards and sticky floors // air – heavy with stale beer and white musk // sweet with burnt brownie smoke-machine dust // dissipates on the link bridge // carries you to half-awake ears // in single rooms with single beds // white breezeblock disrupted by creased posters // fingerprint-tacky photos // the only alarm we know is caused by singed toast // in our pyjamas, we wait for siren silence // suffer only shivers

we discover new notes // find friendship with bears // meet those we’ll walk down aisles with // others who streak through football fields // Green Meanies follow to the tinny dissonance of Airthrey Radio // wind rattles windowpanes // wakes you to a song that pulls you towards

the hum of the library // fluorescent lights and paper shuffling // corridors of books // lined with cadaverous thought // words that circle back on themselves // find answers in Final Flings, leaves and the flight of squirrel-tails // there are no edges, only margins // where we wander to the ring of bluebells // the surprise of stags // the mind is a blade that sharpens with the asking // “What ever happened to that Mini on the loch?”

years of adding ink to paper // the least and most of which // that one last page // bound with ribbon // you feel your life shift in your hands // the unravelling of truth // searching for a vision of

the world we live now

where new footsteps follow

our old paths.

As young as we once were

and as fortunate.

*the interrobang (?!) is a punctuation mark depicting both a question mark and exclamation, and so could be considered a perfect symbol of youthful exploration and study. It came into general use at around the same time that the University first opened its doors.

Dedicated to my fellow alumni of the University of Stirling.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the poem:

Alan HendersonAlison SmithAllan HaughtonAnne Smith (Philliben)Annie ParkAnna Foufoudaki-Katatsaki
Audrey Brookes-SmithAudrey MurrayBilly WilsonChris HudsonChristine BellDavid Lloyd
Douglas RitchieHeather PalmerJacqueline MunroKerry BurrowsKirsty Lear-GrantKit (James) Taylor
Konstantinos TatsisLes CookMarianne BaraniukPaul CarbonaroRoddy ScottSteven Lawther
Suzy AngusThea Laurie

If you would like a copy of Stirling Minds 2023 magazine that features the poem, please email us at

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