The Lothiad


I am the Silver Rose,
& with these streets shall fuse,
To etch my gift in rhyme;
For as my starbreeze blows,
This still provokes the muse
To join us, for a time!

She, for a time, shall serve
My lines twyx every wynd,
Thou heart-pulse of the realm,
Swan flight of Scotia’s verve,
By Eldritch dream design’d,
Some hell-witch at the helm,

In dragon’s furnace born,
By faerie fingers worn!



When Noah’s Ark left two-by-two,
They’d hurry back in if they’d knew
They’d one day end up in a zoo
For all the fucking world to view;
The Wolverine, the Kangaroo,
The Lesser Spiral-Horn’d Kudu,
The Chimpanzees in pirate crew,
The Turacoo of violet hue,
The coarse-quill’d, stiff-claw’d, casque’d Emu,
Flies flocking to the Rhino poo,
The Pygmy Hippo, & what’s new
The Ocellated Turkey too!

I climb the walls, midst human herds,
An Alcatraz of Beasts & Birds!


A gift it is to leave a legacy,
Decanting lipless ghosts into a room,
Who wander with rapacious clemency
Among the pearl-eyed maulers by the tomb.

Drawn to this fabric garden of the North
By soft retiring voices on the green,
They sing to me, this sextet, funnel’d forth
Thro’ judges sate admiring, smiles serene;

They speak to me, these paragons of youth
In lyrical semantics, midnight-hewn;
From dreams they fashion’d poems, born from truth,
Unfetterd by presaging Lady Moon,

Her bauble gleam… thro’ dark, serrated skies…
Thro’ hearts endors’d… words vault aerated eyes!



Swamp’d in a sea of impedimenta,
Scuzzily creative,
All classes of late-night characters converge
For what can only be call’d an UBER-RAVE,
All watch’d over by the diligent eye
Of the indisputable Queen O’ Leith.

What magic myst’ries in her mistress eyes,
Puzzlingly elated,
Still sumptuous in style, Scotch Lady Ga-Ga,
Like a mixture of the new Leith & the Old,
Better than Bet Lynch & Betty Moss put together
& a lady to be serv’d by;

Pamplona to Napoli, Galway & Colne,
It’s definitely the maddest pub I’ve supp’d in.



t o                         o t
r *          f                  l       * h
a            *         m   d        *             i
e                       *       i        *                    a
h                             *   to  *                           n
h                  17     *     llboo     *     36             n
e                      *             th             *                   a
a              *                                          *            i
r      *                                                   *   h
t                                                  t
o                                   o
f                      l
m        d




There is a certain knack to becoming an immortal;
As Orpheus’ heartbeat passes thro’ Pluto’s portal
& Burns arriv’d at Baxter‘s Close, by Lady Stair’s fine house,
Singing of reeking haggises & a wee tim’rous mouse,
When, even on that first mad day, he copp’d a‘gardy-loo,’
Went shit-caked, wand’ring city streets, without a bloody clue,
He knew if he could sing his songs the world wassure to hear,
So, as oor sweet Sordello fell on Johnnie Dowie’sbeer,
With enough space for a fiddle, him just like theArgo’s cox,
He beats enchaunting rhythm thro’ his native tides &rocks,
Eftsoons, at Mrs Carfrae’s door, his destiny wouldstand,
“Your little book of poetry the gossip of the land!”
That night the muse came calling as oor bardie’s pen address’d
Verses to fluff his new edition, both Edina-bless’d.



O for a walk along a printed line!
Remove the vagueries of random paths,
For when we from the city disincline,
Reach for soul-peace away from public baths!

There’s so much pleasure in a trodden route
That stays unhidden in the memory
Of generations, perrennial fruit
Ripens afresh ever-exemplary.

With each footstep a sort of hypnosis
Descends like manna on the pacing host
That enters into cute symbiosis
With nature, rills & forest, hills & coast,

And history! The ghosts go with us too,
Enacting deeds, phantasma in the dew.



A diamond in the Dawn that clears the rains,
I early woke in scintillating sun,
By Yester drove… Carfrae, then Garvald Mains…
The only man alive in Lothian.

By Morham blossoms mingle with the greens,
By Renton pigeons play daredevil games,
Then drop into most favour’d of field scenes,
Of rapeseed tips lush-flipping into flames.

On Garleton ridge, by gorse exploding gold
I choose to think eternal, we who choose
To store zeitgeist, ghosts raise, futures unfold,
All for that rose-raked token of our muse;

From Fate’s outstretching fingers all comes clear,
Good lord! I am a Silver Sonneteer.




We talk’d last night
& after we made love
I read to you the Lao-Tse Tung;
In my voice rose ancyent chimes,
Funell’d thro’ the Jiayuguan Pass
In elegant simplicity –
Lass, after we made love, I cherish’d thee!
Night comes again,
The drift of day deserts us,
The dusk is all that matters now, my love,
The light is dimming, but thine eyes are bright,
As cradl’d in these arms
You smile to me once more,
Love, let us talk again.



Elevated by the Votadini,
We scrambl’d up the Laccolithic side,
Found picture frame three-hundred-sixty wide,
Elating vision to a sweet degree.

Under rocks of volcanic pimplerie;
Dunbar, East Linton, Haddington abide,
Fields reach the Forth, soft beaches spread beside,
Or lonely Lammermuir where thought soars free.

I cast mine een along the Garleton ridge
To settle on a far-off Forth Road bridge,
Little with distance, misty like a ghost.

This is the length of Roman Lothian,
A noble home my roaming soul hath won
To recollect when Britain miss’d the most.



There was a time I felt compell’d to race
Round London at a hundred miles an hour,
Hopping twyx train & bus, but now my pace
To footstep slows.
Fuell’d by pureself power
I’ve noticed, here, the needlessness of car,
Walking between East Linton & Dunbar,

I feel so… so alive… fresh country pile
By Whittinghame, beyond the Baro gloom,
For zephyrs bless me with a certain smile
Erewhile fate blows!
As cottage smoke-curls plume,
Tho’ yesterday craved I city bustle
I just heard a gnat’s wing in a rustle.


Feel the feeling on the edge of summer,
Hours before your first foggybummer,
April, perhaps, or March on a good year,
Out on the tracks with the shy pregnant deer,
Wearing that hat that you’ve worn all winter,
Skimming thro’ Plath or the plays of Pinter,
Warming each pace in your courdoroy clothes
As petals do abud before the rose.

As all at once we lessen from our haste
& cardigans are tied about the waste,
We soonest feel, upon the naked arm,
A zephyr-waft; so soft, so cool, so calm
& I shall follow them wher e’er they will
Free spirits, ‘til the first Autumnal chill.



Upon the steep slopes of Spott Dod
I sat, observing as a God
Surveys creation, all below,
Thro’ fields sunburnt by summer’s glow,
The London train creeps past a car;
The wavy mane beside Dunbar
Grew angel blue, no northern sea
In glassy, grey conformity,
But more an Adriatic Bay,
Ecstatic with this cloudless day
& I above it with the sheep,
Some rustic Croat half asleep,
Dreaming where men have rarely trod
Upon the steep slopes of Spott Dod.


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