Strolling around it’s not so changed – Glasgow still has its Lasses All cheek bones And button-nose, grouted faces; Edinburgh still speaks in masonry And living rock,
Behind stage-backdrop skies.
Semi-known faces negotiate roads, Frequent coffee shops – Voices and noises take their pitch In the key of noon.
Yet slicing through the scene’s Murmured sounds, I cannot help noticing
The buses – Their destinations Inscribed on their foreheads With haughty purpose,
Each one plying toward a place Much missed, Where a shackled memory Lays sleeping;
OCEAN TERMINAL (Where her and I wept the end)
CRAMOND (Where we sauntered one weekend)
MORNINGSIDE (‘Where all became a burning mist…’)
Pleasant – The unexpected Refraction of thought, Their laborious presence provokes.
And as evening weighs its tender jaw On lambent streets, Now bristling with twilight enterprise My gaze again meets
The buses: Their brows Now showing in yellow The towns And memory lanes
This time Strapped with a warning; of History’s dusk And future’s mourning
In hideous glare:
‘Look at the past, of course, But whatever you do, Don’t stare.’