To EdinburghStone above storms, you rear upon the ridge:
we live on your back, its crag-and-tail,
spires and tenements stacked on your spine,
the castle and the palace linked by one rope.
A spatchcocked town, the ribcage split open
like a skellie, a kipper, a guttit haddie.
We wander through your windy mazes,
all our voices are flags on the high street.
From the sky’s edge to the grey firth
we are the city, you are within us.
Each crooked close and wynd is a busy cut
on the crowded mile that takes us home
in eden Edinburgh, centred on the rock,
our city with your seven hills and heavens.
To My SurgeonNo-one else sees me
drowning in the white wave
sprinkled with a terrible salt
invasive lobular carcinoma
is difficult to identify
but you take one look
and I am
by your hand
saving my life
Valerie Gillies was appointed Edinburgh Makar in 2005 and held the position until 2008. Born in Canada in 1948, Valerie Gillies grew up in Scotland and continued her studies in Mysore, India. A freelance writer since 1971 and winner of several awards, she is best known as the River Poet who followed the Tweed and the Tay from source to sea.