Swan in front of Linlithgow Palace, on the loch.



It is December, and a cold wind shrieks through the town, 
unheeding of the walls and windows that once formed
such a noble
Palace of Queens. 

Not a soul but my own
to wander the passageways, 
to walk the rounded stair
till I reached the place where the roof caved in, and the sky
had formed a dismal second ceiling.

All the time in the world, I had
to read the signs of chivalry
carved up-on the portal and all about the fountain.
Pondering my most recent classes which touched on the use of Chivalry
to order and control a society, bringing it under one symbol,
one allegiance.
Where before the clans had paid fealty to none but their own,
they now stood proudly under the Order of the Garter.
The thistle.

It is a wild thing, no?
The thistle, I mean.

But the castle had fallen, the wild enters in again,
in the forms of tiny weeds,
which blow their seeds into the cracks
and crannies
of the paving stones.

Is there any difference now
between the inner courtyard,
and the lake around the outer walls?
The same rain falls in both.

I sat a while, 
talked to an older gentleman - a grandfather,
about the town and its inhabitants.
there were sheep grazing on a hillside
and there were swans.

Scottish houses on a green hill with sheep, in Linlithgow.
Linlithgow Palace circular tower on outer wall.
Linlithgow Palace, inner courtyard and fountain.
Linlithgow Palace fountain.
Linlithgow Palace roof.
Spiral staircase inside Linlithgow tower.
Sitting on a window in the castle tower.
Swan in front of Linlithgow Palace.
Spiral staircase in stone palace of Linlithgow.