We stand concealed in roped-off rooms.
Dead eyes of the blind old monarchs of Scotland
from frozen palace walls.
No one lives in this giant doll’s house,
no one lusts any more.
The furniture lies draped in frost.
Stiff dummies of the lingering past
hunch drearily in padded chairs;
the electric veins of Kings and Queens
become dead rivers, frozen streams.
They dragged Rizzio’s punctured body through here,
trailing the thick claret wine
now worn bare by footsore tourists
who have gouged out chunks
of the bloodstained wood
and slipped them
into suburban drawers:
in the debris of their murderous minds;
of a hunchback’s blood.
This is a disinfected past.
The sheets on the bed are dry.
The monument stands like a broken tree,
tugged dead by howling Lothian winds.
As thistles wilt on the backs of bent hills,
another party shuffles round:
in one ear,
out the other,
through the head of a corpse,
ringed by the flashing crown of Edinburgh:
a throb of a city
alive in the evening sun.
And cloud drifts,
spear of our history,
sucker of our blood.
this poem is published in the latest issue of 'Ranfurly Review' www.ranfurly-review.co.uk