The next time you calmly book into
a quiet b & b in Edinburgh,
check out the ordinary house
in the ordinary row. And look at
the ordinary old man that runs it.
Notice the discarded cigarette packets
and empty beer bottles tucked behind
the drab, ordinary bin. Then notice
the extraordinary garden he tends
with such extraordinary fastidiousness.
Admire how he has nursed his young blooms
and how they’ve burst into vitality.
Then, look again at this ordinary
old émigré, as he coughs and bows
and shuffles you to your resting place.
His gentle, trembling hand, stained from dark labours,
holds a key to a distant, shady past.
A past where, with careful precision
and deliberate skill, he picked a bright, smart,
extraordinary seventeen-year old nurse
and strung her up like a lank sweet pea.
A snatched blush, she swung in the breeze
like a snapped corn dolly – beyond fertility.
A prize for extra fags and cheap booze.
A breath hanged,
for being an ordinary weed
in a tidy, re-made bed of perfect,