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Embra Buses




I like to sit at the front of the bus

and keek through the hole

at the driver's heid.

As he pulls on the wheel

and gives the odd cuss,

he disnae ken I'm there.


You can see the hale world fae the tap of a bus:

turbans and burkas, saris with cardis,

kilts with Doc Martens,

spiky-haired Goths,

Hoodies and Neds in Burberry caps,

Morningside ladies in sensible hats.


Traffic-wardens, grey as sharks

with fluorescent stripes, circle

ready tae strike.

The blind man's dug sits obediant at the kerb,

his flesh flabby.

I'd gie him a guid run.


We stop-start, shoogled aboot in our seats

by traffic cones, road-works,

jay-walkers and drunks.

Crash go the branches

as we lean intae a corner.

Hold tight!  Ting!  Ting!

We fall doon the stairs.


Published in 'The Thing that Mattered Most:  Scottish poems for children' edited by Julie Johnstone (Black & White Publishing, May 2006) and in 'Reading Round Edinburgh' edited by Lindsey Fraser and Kathryn Ross (Floris Books, 2007).