Robert & Roseanna
It was almost my first day without a blip since Hogmanay - too much happening in terms of getting back to Edinburgh, attending meetings and then going to the Kirking of the Parliament and the Presiding Officer's reception thereafter. Once that was all finished Roseanna Cunningham and I went for something to eat, and were joined by her brother Chris and his family. Walking back down the High St we stopped to look at the statue of Robert Fergusson and I recalled Cathleen taking my picture next to it late at night, with Wole Soyinka after I had given him dinner in the Parliament when I was Culture Minister - a reallly big thrill. So the obvious thing to do was to get another pic, this time of Roseanna with the statue.
At that dinner which must have been in the summer of 2009, I told Wole about Fergusson,(whom he didn't know ) and about Burns' (whom of course he did) great admiration for the poet. Then I walked him to the statue which is only minutes from the Parliament and quoted a third poet - Edinburgh's own Robert Garioch and his very powerful joining of the two in "At Robert Fergusson's Grave" , one of his Edinburgh Sonnets :
At Robert Fergusson's Grave
Canongait kirkyaird in the failing year
is auld and grey, the wee roseirs are bare
five gulls lean white again the dirty air:
why are they here? There's naething for them here.
Why are we here oursels? We gaither near
the grave. Fregussons mainly, quite a fair
turnout, repectfu, ill at ease, we stare
at daith - there's an address - I canna hear.
Aweill, we staund bareheidit in the haar,
murnin a man that gaed back til the pool
twa-hunner year afore our time. The glaur
that haps his banes glowres back. Strang, present dool
ruggs at my hairt,. Lichtlie this gin ye daur
here Robert Burns knelt and kissed the mool.