i dy stride / In your stride by Christine De Luca

Statue of the poet Robert Fergusson, Canongate, Royal Mile

Statue of the poet Robert Fergusson, Canongate, Royal Mile

Prunk in bronze, du’s stendin doon
da Canongaet, cott tails flaagin.
Naeboady wid jalouse a Bedlam endin.

Touries daander up ta dee, pose
for der pictir. Du sood hae a page
in Facebook. Maybe du dis.

Ee lass cups dy shin ithin her haands
while her laad snaps her; anidder een
claps dy cheek; dey sheeks wi dee,

der wirds catcht on camera.
Anidder wife, for her album, harks
i dy lug; hit’s on her mobile, nae doot

half-gaets roond da wirld bi noo.
A man tries to place his feet
in exactly dy step; tooms up, snap,

snap again. Some lean fornenst dee,
pit a airm aroond dee. A bairn plunks
her saaft toy, her peerie dug, i da crook

o dy airm. Click. Hit’s lik as if du’s
faider, lover, pal. Ee halliget lass loups
apö dy back. Wir faert shö’ll rive dy cott,

boofel dee. But du’s mair bördly
as du luiks. Stend on, man. Wir still
staandin apö dy shooders, dy wirds.

Statue of the poet Robert Fergusson, Canongate, Royal Mile

Statue of the poet Robert Fergusson, Canongate, Royal Mile

Poised in bronze, you’re striding down
the Canongate, coat tails flapping.
Nobody would suspect a Bedlam ending.

Tourists wander up to you, pose
for their picture. You should have a page
in Facebook. Maybe you do.

One girl cups your chin in her hands
while her boyfriend snaps her; another one
strokes your cheek; they blether with you,

their words caught on camera.
Another woman, for her album, whispers
in your ear; it’s on her mobile, no doubt

half-way round the world by now.
A man tries to place his feet
in exactly your step; thumbs up, snap,

snap again. Some lean against you,
put an arm around you. A child pops
her soft toy, her little dog, in the crook

of your arm. Click. It’s as if you are
father, lover, pal. One wild girl leaps
on your back. We’re frightened she’ll tear your coat,

pummel you. But you’re more strapping
than you look. Stride on, man. We’re still
standing on your shoulders, your words.

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