We have commissioned a new piece of writing from fifty leading authors on the theme of 'Elsewhere' - read on for Robin Robertson's contribution.

You were quite the vision last night

I remember, before my vision went.


And I was left,


with this

falling corridor of edges,

the greased slipway

and its black drop: that

glint of fracture

in the faces, in the disco-ball’s

pellets of light,

in the long whiskies I threw back

short and hard.

Streeling I was, and streeling I went

through some heavy gate

I came across –

and left the world on the other side, the dark

slowly calving over me

on the white slope,

on the sledge of night.


You liked my sensitive hands, you said,

but my hands are empty.

I will give you everything

but have nothing to give.


And now: now

I’ll fall back

on instinct, compass,

the ghost in the sleeve,

find my way home to a place

so small I can barely stand.

The city has flooded, emptied,

flooded again.

I don’t know where I am.

Your door is near, someone laughed,

just around that corner.

Pulling my jacket tight, I went on.

The frightened boy

climbed out of me and ran.


Copyright © 2010, Robin Robertson. All rights reserved.

Supported through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.

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