it isna gold

He stood at the foot of the steps
that rise precipitately up from Grassmarket
to the crags that cradle the castle.

My curious wife heard him first,
sat on the sill of the window
glancing down to watch him bray.

“It isna silver, ye fools!” he declared.
“It isna ’boot gold, do ye hear me?”
And he danced from foot to foot.

The sun disappeared behind envious
clouds glowering insatiably down
at the oblivious shoppers of Edinburgh.

The angry Dundonian stared above
and grew still, his feet barely shuffling
as the castle imperious looked on.

“Ehl no lie, no me. No, no, no, no.
Wha’s fer Joe. It isna gold, isna silver.
Twa pehs fer Joe. Twa pehs, ain pint.”

A young tourist, “Here you go, Joe,”
dropped the angry old man a quid
with an embarrassed smile at his feet.

“Ehm no Joe!” he objected, and I
thought there were tears in his voice
as he moved back, staring at the castle.

“Twa pehs, ain pint,” he whimpered,
glaring at the Union Jack flapping above.
“A’ fer Joe. A’ fer oor bairn.”

Grassmarket from our apartment window (May 2015)

ain = one
bairn = child
’boot = about
Ehl = I’ll
Ehm = I’m
fer = for
isna = isn’t
oor = our
pehs = pies
twa = two

3 thoughts on “it isna gold

    • You are definitely not thick, mate. And you got it. Staring up at the old castle, and the Union Jack flying above it, he was angry at the effort of London to pay him off for the loss of his son, Joe, in a military engagement. It wasn’t about the money for him. But the need to care for his boy, to feed his boy. I honestly don’t remember all the things that old man shouted down there on the street. Nor could I hear it all clearly. But that was how it struck me.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Such an interesting way to tell a tale of life (was glad to read the comments as well). But terribly sad for the man who lost his son.
    On a happier note, I loved the way you included your wife. That made a very sweet picture. 🤗💛

    Liked by 1 person

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