Nice Has Become a Suburb of Edinburgh

I was having a last drink with a friend at the very moment

a truck was being driven down a faraway hillside.

 

I left the bar to find the city-centre deserted –

No trams, no buses, no pedestrians and all the shop doors

standing wide open. Everyone had gone to Nice

to see the fireworks.

 

My friend was dying of cancer. We’d said goodbye,

and I was setting off across the city as the truck

approached la Promenade des Anglais.

 

He’d been given two years at most. No more consultations,

no more tests. I was putting my key in the door when

the truck started its zigzag carnage through men,

women and children, continuing

to crush them under its wheels as I climbed

the stairs to our top floor flat.

 

My friend had looked tired, hesitant, but his parting

handclasp had been sure.

 

Princes Street. La Promenade des Anglais.

From today it’s only a short walk from one to the other.

 

When we say goodbye, we feel closer than ever before.


unpublished poem, © Ron Butlin 2017, used by permission of the author

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1A History of the Glass Kingdom

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2A Recipe for Whisky

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3All That We Have

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4Coming of Age

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5Darien II

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6David Hume Takes a Last Walk on Arthurs Seat

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7Disposable Buildings Are Made for Disposable Lives

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8EH1 2AB

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9Elegy

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10Frederic Chopin Tweets from the Edinburgh Hogmanay Party

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11Histories of Desire

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12Inheritance

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13James Hutton Learns to Read The Hieroglyphics

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14Kickstarting History

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15Mozart

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16My Grandfather Dreams Twice of Flanders

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17Near Linton Burnfoot

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18Nice Has Become a Suburb of Edinburgh

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19Our City Listens to Itself

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20Pairty Piece

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21Prayer

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22Rehearsals for the End of Time

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23Remembering a Good Friend

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24Scottish Mouse and Scottish Cat

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25The Circle Dante Wasn't Shown

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26The Electric City of Heck

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27The Kinder Artist

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28The Magicians of Edinburgh

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29The Other Edinburgh

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30The Roman Invasion of Scotland

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