It’s been the second-hottest January on record and the worst of the darkness is already over, so I’d better post this before winter is just a memory.


The sun pulls back our blanket of blue
And drags its orange trim
Across the edge of this earthly bed;
Edinburgh wakes shivering
Into the winter night.

Dusk at three, dark by four.
Sodium yellow seeps from the suburbs,
But the tenements of the Mile
Black out the streets
And shadow our footsteps.

High above, windows wink open
Their incandescent eyes:
Bare bulbs in an iris of forty-watt gloom.
Below, a few squares of fluorescence
Stare down six o’clock.

The rooster spire of St Giles
Pecks at a crescent moon.
Spotlights pick out cobbles.
A four-wheeled tenement climbs the Mound;
Two more storeys of light.

Upstairs on the bus, down the front,
The collected breath of hundreds
Dewdrops the windows,
Scattering the headlights
Of oncoming cars.

Polarized pairs weave across the glass,
Left, then right, with every bend,
Dancing us to our destination;
Lights luring us, alluring us,
Into the dark.

31 January 2007 · UK Culture

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