Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Thursday, 8 September 2016


The Summer of ’89

(for B.)

After he had gone
I knew you would be
in the beaver's meadow.

Your eyes met mine –
they were so blue –
and they did not lie
but I kept on looking.

And the beaver worked away
against the river of life
and the thieving magpie
flew away.

25 July 1989
This is a poem about Edinburgh, about something that happened in Edinburgh at least. But I’ve no idea what. This is your classic decoder ring poem only I lost the ring a long time ago. It’s typical of the kind of poems I was writing at this time, me trying to say one thing by saying something else. ‘Omnipresence’ (#672) although finished a month later is also about this particular visit. 

I’ve not been to Edinburgh for almost twenty years. It’s not that far away, a bus and a train ride (I could be there in an hour and a half if I timed it right) but it’s not a place that holds many happy memories. In 2008 I wrote a poem called ‘Lonely City’ (#1011) about the place for ‘this collection’ which got turned into a short film. If you’ve never seen it and would like to it’d at the end of this post. I hadn’t listened to it in years and I have to say I was struck by how much of Alan Bennett there is in my delivery. Not deliberate. That’s how I talk.

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