Edinburgh Marathon, What I Remember

(after Tracey Herd)

most, is not the goal, the finish-line, but the start,

(do any of us know where we are heading),

the assortment of people, the runners I mean,

stretching, going for last minute pees,

doing their weird warm-up routines,

and the straggle of loved ones congregating in Holyrood Park.

I barely remember the first five miles down Edinburgh’s

deep streets, I remember hitting the coast, the exposure

at Portobello beach, the surprise of space, the sudden release

of the sea’s shore. I thought then of Larkin’s lines, (I was running well),

of more and ever more, I remember this and the sun’s stinging kiss

and the denim dark patina of the Firth’s sheen,

people calling my name, later, as though in a dream,

this late May day bursting its unbottled bliss.