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Not silver, a city the colour of slate grey,
Where it's dark at dawn and dusk
In the middle of a dull day.

The estate outside is peopled
With the faces of criminal's
Death masks. High northerners
The colour of the North sea,
Crime-fed subscribers
Who'll devour all that's free.

The day's a hole here
Which sounds from the harbour fill.


If you listen closely, the way you would
For the first bird to start birdsong,
You'll hear the subtle violence
In the name: Aberdeen.

All lived in impressions are made
Clearer in conversation,
In repetition: Aberdeen.

The basic grammar of the A and B,
How the rich ornament of the double E
Is squashed between the slabs of D and N.


The road to the hospital, conscious of my role,
The cradling of a loved one, urging the cab to go
Ambulance like through an urgent dawn,

Holding on, hoping to dam the harm
Of their assault, the softness
Of your injured head.

I was nauseated by your innocence,
The pulse of pathos in a girl's
Profile now bloodied, now sphinxed.


Six O'clock, King Street.
Seagulls swooping through
The grey of granite,
Their stock bodies on a wave
Of wind, strangling echoes,
Making sorties for shite.


The shards of glass from the panels
Of our door, how they pepper the floor, love
Somehow says the way things are here.
A warning in brick. To dodge the
Dutch influence docks, to keep at bay,
To stay away and change our locks.


Read a review of a book by Colm Quinn

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This page last updated: 13th November 2006.