National Poetry Day! My favourite poems about Edinburgh

If, like me, you’re a massive literary nerd, you’ll be aware that each year at the beginning of October, the UK celebrates National Poetry Day. The theme this year is Truth. It’s basically a great opportunity to share good words, nice poems and songs with everyone you love. Or even people you hate: there are plenty of poems to send to your enemies.

If you’re looking for some poetic inspiration, the Scottish Poetry Library has a fantastic database of poems about pretty much anything. Want something about Doctor Who, mermaids or spiders (ewww)? Sorted.

Here are some poems about Edinburgh I’d like to share with you. Hope you like them, and you’ll be inspired to read more poetry. It always bring me comfort, laughter, and food for thought.

Calton Hill from North Bridge

Embra buses, by Stephanie Green

I love this poem because it’s so relatable. I’d rather take a bus in Edinburgh than a taxi or an Uber because I get to be above people, so I can observe them walking past each other, stumble on a cobble, do their shopping, take selfies, run after their kids… To me, this is a poem about Edinburgh’s vitality and diversity.

A Month on the Mile, by Christine de Luca

I have a love/hate relationship with the Royal Mile. When I first came to Edinburgh, its was obviously one of the first places I explored. I always seem to discover something new everytime I go. But gosh, the Royal Mile makes me cringe so hard now I’m a full-tim Edinburgher (is this how we call ourselves? Please correct me if it’s not!). To me, this poem by the former Edinburgh Makar shines a different light this part.

To Edinburgh, by Valerie Gillies

« We are the city, you are within us. » Is this why Edinburgh feels so special? Decide by reading the poem.

Threshold, by Jackie Kay

You know I adore Jackie Kay: great humour, gorgeous poems and novels, and her experience resonates with mine so much. One of my favourite poems from her is the one she wrote for the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament, « this building of pure poetry », three years ago.

So it’s not precisely about Edinburgh, but I love what she has to say about modern Scotland, its people, and its diversity. This poem teaches us a vital lesson:

Our strength is our difference.
Dinny fear it. Dinny caw canny.

Threshold, by Jackie Kay

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