XI. Holyrood Park Freedom reigns in Holyrood behind the Queen’s big house. Wide-open space, grass to roam barefoot, feed ducks, kick balls. A woman in a leotard – small waist, wide hips – attempts to wheel a hula-hoop along her arm across her clavicle and back along the other arm. Every time, she fails. I love that she doesn’t care one dot to stand out in the park, a flop, look daft for not succeeding. Here nothing’s foolish, not the Hari-Krishna dancers or the man-boy up a tree who dangles on a stretch of rubber, warped liquorice body trying to get free. Not the rap of bongo players as they beat out broken rhythms, or the frisbee flickers head- long dives, slipping sideways glances to the cross-legged girl who nonchalantly watches from afar. But who’s that sitting on the old tree trunk, veiled in golden gloaming? My watcher, unmoving, like a branch of felled ash, minding me, until the last. XII. Arthur’s Seat Hush now, I retreat from all those gathered on the lawn to walk the foot of Arthur’s Seat in clockwise route. St Margaret’s Loch, on further to Dunsapie where the heron stands one-legged and unflinching, till with quick jerk neck jolt he lifts and flies off overhead. The summit’s packed, to climb it has become the thing to do: seat, castle, royal yacht, see the panda at the zoo. There’s cyclists – so earnest with their padded bums and cleets – and joggers, chatters, dreamers, schemers, others, like me, out to see the sky. Tonight, a plume of cloud booms in aggressive beauty, Hiroshima turned orange. Fife’s far-off hills are blue, the sky above a paler hue, then more blue clouds explode mountains tinged in irate red. A sudden radiance, the light of death, where grass and stone, puddles on the road, revitalise like negatives exposed, that late, sharp scintillating light before it goes. And I am luminous. It’s getting dark. The bats are out. I pick a worry, gift one to each flitting wing I spy.
Extract from Edinburgh, A Long Poem
by Eimear Bush (September–October 2020)