Edinburgh, Scotland: A Duet

I make a pass through this history
for my look at modern Auld Reekie;
a tourist out of time, bound to other parts
and singing, lone, the ling’ring hours.

Time lies buried in these streets.
I take up small threads, wind my way
past gaunt tenements, limestone facades,
on these close passages
where people pass and pass again
speaking profound things
dear as the rap’tured thrill of joy.

Bygone stories bind every street–
old tales walk like restless ghosts
and I let their stirrings break my heart.
Somewhere far off a bagpipe sings
and a gothic spire remembers sedge,
gorse and haar mists of wild moors
attentive still to Sorrow’s wail.

The old, cold castle squats and broods
on its rocky crag above the city
            where bones still dream
            and talk in their sleep.

(*Note: italicized lines, the last lines of the first three stanzas, are from Robert Burns’ “Address to Edinburgh”)

Pamelyn Casto and Robert Burns