Postcards From Malthusia DAY ONE HUNDRED – Stephanie Green

Desire Paths

(Craighouse, Edinburgh, June 2020)


Few people used to come here – the grounds

of the former lunatic asylum:  joggers, the elderly

but they kept to the tarmac round the edge.


But now, as May turns into June, buttercups

like a bright lake darken with currents,  trails

criss-crossing the expanse of unmown grass.


Let out for their allotted hour, small kids burst

into the open space –  whooping and screaming,

running wild – their parents indulgent.


We tread our separate desires: the lonely,

longing for touch, keeping their distance as they pound

their griefs into the grass to the soil beneath


or let the eyes relax at the long views,

a respite from crouching over screens,

to the views of Arthur’s Mound or the Firth of Forth


where we cannot go, or even on the distant horizon,

when the haze clears, to the triangle of Berwick’s Law

where I have never desired to go, until now.



Stephanie Green is half Irish and half English and has lived in Edinburgh since 2000. Her pamphlet Flout (HappenStance, 2015) is inspired by Shetlandic landscape, folklore and music.  Recently Berlin Umbrella her poetry/sound collaboration with Sonja Heyer, launched in Berlin in 2018 and appeared at StAnza, 2020.


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