Edwin Morgan
22 December 2006

Coming up Buchanan Street, quickly, on a sharp winter evening

a young man and two girls, under the Christmas lights -

The young man carries a new guitar in his arms,

the girl on the inside carries a very young baby,

and the girl on the outside carries a chihuahua.

And the three of them are laughing, their breath rises

in a cloud of happiness, and as they pass

the boy says, "Wait till he sees this but!"

The chihuahua has a tiny Royal Stewart tartan coat like a teapot-


the baby in its white shawl is all bright eyes and mouth like

favours in a fresh sweet cake,

the guitar swells out under its milky plastic cover, tied at the neck

with silver tinsel tape and a brisk sprig of mistletoe.

Orphean sprig! Melting baby! Warm chihuahua!

The vale of tears is powerless before you.

Whether Christ is born, or is not born, you

put paid to fate, it abdicates

under the Christmas lights.

Monsters of the year

go blank, are scattered back,

can't bear this march of three.

And the three have passed, vanished in the crowd

(yet not vanished, for in their arms they wind

the life of men and beasts, and music,

laughter ringing them round like a guard)

at the end of this winter's day

Edwin Morgan is a Scottish poet. He served as Glasgow's first poet laureate from 1999–2002. In February 2004 he was appointed Scots Makar, in effect poet laureate for Scotland. His Collected Poems was published in 1990, and Collected Translations in 1996. In 1997 he received the Hungarian Order of Merit for his translations of Hungarian poetry.

Edwin Morgan's poetry is published by Carcanet and Mariscat Press

Edwin Morgan's website is here

His poem written for the opening of the Scottish parliament in 2004 is here

A celebration of Edwin Morgan by his city on his 85th birthday is here

Also in openDemocracy, several of Edwin Morgan's translations from Hungarian poetry are here

openDemocracy previously published two of Edwin Morgan's poems – "An Iraqi student" and "The Computer's First Christmas Card" – by kind permission of his publishers Carcanet. After a certain period, these were – as Trio will be - returned to the copyright holder


Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData