The Lothiad

CALTON HILL 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!
EDINBURGH ZOO 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! PORT O’ LEITH 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 i


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.

HOPES RESERVOIR Across the world, among the vale of years, Let’s intimate among the LammermuirsingOur inclinations natural to roam In heather’d heights above the feather’d foam Up ancyent moorland; with a Lhassapoo, My little Daisy, tho’ our souls seem two, We are as one when walking in the hills, By rocks & crags, by riverbanks & rills, Now lakeface gazing, hid from human view, No habitations here – a scatter’d few Acolytes of nature praise in silence This glory of East Lothian – a sense Of recollecting second selves, for I & younger poets yet to daunder by. VALIDATION 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.
TRAPRAIN LAW 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.
HEATHER LODGE 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.
PRESSMENNAN WOODS 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.
SUMMER VISTA 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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