Now the night has fallen, Edinburgh comes alight
as if each building’s shell
has a fire inside that burned. The follies
– lit exhibits – stand here on the hill
in their white stone; the Castle glows.
And the streets are bright blurs of sodium
and pearl: the drawn tracery of headlamps
smeared in long exposure. For miles west
the city stretches,
laid with vapour trails and ghosts.
To the east, the folding sea has drowned
the girning of the gulls. A lighthouse
perforates the night: a slow cigarette.
Then there is no more light,
and no more breath or sound.
About this poem
This extract comes from a sequence called 'Camera Obscura', and combines contemporary Edinburgh with the life of the pioneering photographer David Octavius Hill.