Bonnie Dundee

Bonnie Dundee

By James Ursell

A funky discord of mismatched chimney pots rest atop the roofs of Dundee’s west-end tenements. The vantage point from up here is stunning: a raggedy skyline buttressed by a thousand hues of grey, black and brown.


The conical protrusions – which elegantly tilt this way and that – silently witness the perpetual serfdom of the languishing Tay, subjected as she is to the beck and call of a remorseless gleaming moon.


Perky weeds spring from these old stonewalls: triumphantly reaching for the sky. They bristle in the northerly wind, and relish periodic bursts of sunlight that pierce through the oppressive overcast grey.


Fuchsia pink,

Forest green,





Petals and leaves and stalks and seeds,

Forever stand in solidarity.


The plants gnaw at fissures in the walls. Their roots fragment the very mortar and sandstone from which a meagre sustenance has been drawn. The overall impression of is one of constrained dilapidation: an organic dismantling of austere structures – a fragrant rebellion of unprecedented beauty rises up from ancient sandstone.


And who can say what will become bonnie Dundee,

When carpeted in a thousand hues of blue, white and green?


(Written during the Scottish referendum)

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