Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 23: Edinburgh

Resurrection Men

In the midnight fog they loom large, the taste of them sulphurous on the tongue,
Like the blunt blade of an old lead spade.

Watch out for the winking yellow eye of their sleepy lanterns,
Watch out for the frosty kiss of their laboured breath on your icy window pane,
The graveyards have given up their dead, but still this pair hunger.

Two tall-hatted creatures of the smoky Edinburgh night,
Outdoing any limp English Boogie Man that Ealing Studios could dream up,
Nah, these two are the real McCoy,
Made in Scotland from girders,
In the premier league of deep-fried Mars Bars and Hi Pizza Pie,
Uniquely Scottish, and without even a hint of tartan,
Obsidian comedians of the dark who'll slit your throat for a shilling and then buy you a drink with the change.

Butch & Sundance, Fred & Rosemary, Myra & Ian,
Synonymous names irrevocably linked with a deadly ampersand,
Canongate Doxies, Fleshmarket Foxies or Fingzies Poxies,
Dive bar harlots of Henry Jeckyll's alter ego and the habitués of the fog-banked haunts of….
Burke & Hare.
Nah, no trite tourist-trap ghost bus here!


Edinburgh. City of bones.


Max Scratchmann
Previously performed on the Edinburgh Tour bus in November 2013 as part of the history festival.

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