Stewart Moss

Hogmanay, Edinburgh
March 18, 2019 Moss Stewart

Hogmanay, Edinburgh

Past the iron fence on Princes Street
and up the Mound to the pale clock
on the steeple of St. Giles,
the denizens of this old town stumble
in weaving druidic lines,

chanting half-remembered ballads and dirty songs
bleated and belched off key,
guttural greetings, och ayes and halloos,
and hiccupping the music
the earth might have made

when it was drunk from its own first rains,
becoming what Burns called the “dews distilled,”
a liquor so smooth
it makes the tongue purr, stretch
and prowl for more

beneath smoke spuming from breweries
in the malty midnight air,
brine riding in sheets of mist
above whiffs of rust and turf
and the sweat and perfume of “C’mon, lass”

as lovers fumble in alleyways,
their damp backs pressed against stone and brick,
then their first hard kiss, their first moans,
these falling creatures the church bell summons
shivering and blinking into the New Year.

As the former Executive Director of The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, one of the largest literary centers in the USA, Stewart Moss helped establish creative writing programs for adult immigrants, and members of the military being treated for neurological and psychological trauma. Moss has essays included in “Retire the Colors: Veterans & Civilians on Iraq & Afghanistan” (Hudson Whitman/Excelsior College Press, 2016) and Plume Literary Journal, and poetry in the spring ’16 edition of Origins Literary Review. He has also been featured in “The Poet and the Poem” podcasts at The Library of Congress. He was educated at Union College (NY) and Harvard University. A native of Boston, MA he resides in Annapolis, MD.