When the pair of ospreys fled the T in the Park site at Strathallan they had to go somewhere to build their nest. Using Edwin Muir's poem The Horses as his guide, Terry Power picks up the story of their arrival in Edinburgh's Old Town.
Barely two weeks after the T in
The Park debacle that set the web alight,
Late in the evening the grand ospreys came.
By then we had lived so long with noise
That in the first few days it was so still
We seemed to listen to our breathing for the first time.
Stags stopped and stared, and the Hens decamped.
On the third day the Jazz troupe left, heading north,
Dead-looking dee-jays with their decks, sad buskers
Piled seaward down to Leith and the ships.
The last post sounded its Tattoo and
A plane plunged over us into the street. Thereafter
Nothing. The speakers and the drummers dumb,
We stand in the corners of our kitchens,
And if we should speak, we can hear what’s said,
Are suddenly are prompted to speak again,
And stoop to listen.
Soon that old bad world that shamed our children
And pressed them into Service seemed so strange to us.
We would not have it back again.
Sometimes we wonder at our loved ones lying asleep
Uninterrupted. Now that we are awake
We make our own festivities, revive old customs
Long laid aside. We have gone back far past our fathers' land.
Yes, that April evening
To our disputed place the grand ospreys came.
We heard a distant flapping on the wind,
A deepening drumming of wings; it stopped, we saw them
Settle on Goosepie House, Ramsay Garden.
We saw the heads
Pointing to a lost place. We were afraid.
We had slaughtered them for profit,
To feed the wealthy. Now they were strange to us
As fabulous birds sketched in an ancient book.
We did not dare go near them due to a wise law.
Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
To restore to us some long-lost companionship,
In that first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures that would stay the Summer.
But stay they did, making a sweet wilderness of our broken world,
Til the female left in August darkening the Tents on Charlotte Square.
Before the others left, the father took his son to fish
Among the Pentlands. Their absence pierced our hearts.
Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.
Images Courtesy of Eddie Gibbons