A View Of Edinburgh Castle Poem by Sheena Blackhall

A View Of Edinburgh Castle

Locked in these stones, three thousand years of history
Romans, warlords, kings, princesses, knights
Rising and falling like the waters of Leith

Pluck the airy castle off its perch
Sheer off the streets, flick off the people
What remains is the heart of the place
The child of a dead volcano, grooved by ice

Aneirin the bard spoke well of it
Din Eidyn, the stronghold of Eidyn
Named by the Angles Edinburgh
In this ‘Castle of the Maidens',
Queen Margaret died, her husband and son
Both fallen, fighting Normans

Centuries flew, like a pack of shuffled cards
The castle changing hands in the haar of uncertain times

Loved by the Royal Stewarts, fortress and residence
Arsenal, archive, House of the Honours of Scotland
The Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State
Its stout walls welcomed Mary and Earl Bothwell
In his brief lustful journey to the grave

The sounds are multi-layered. Clatter of footsteps
Clash and skirl of bagpipes, drums and bugles
The chatter of freckled pupils, the calls of birds
The babel of languages from the wider world

Mons Meg, the stone of destiny, the military tattoo
Each of them spawning trails of myth and story
The Bruce and Wallace flank the ancient drawbridge
Icons built to kindle Scottish pride

There's ghosts a-plenty, if you seek them out
Lady Glamis, one of 300 witches
Burned at the stake out-with this castle's walls
For witchcraft, on the orders of the King
Twisting against Auld Reekie's skies like herring
Smoked to a turn.21 pirates of the Caribbean,
Who swopped this rugged prison for the gallows
Even the elephant mascot of the 78th
Trundles on ponderous feet in the war museum

Deep in the tunnels under the castle walls
A ghostly bagpiper plays on. At dawn and dusk,
A headless drummer boy flits round,
A black hound glides unearthly, out of vision
French prisoners, too, put in the odd appearance
And long ago a dragon curled its scaly coils
On David's Tower, a wraith of awe and fear

Boom! The one o clock gun breaks bold and loud
Across the city's bows, the castle rising from mist
Like a great galleon on a sea of clouds

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