Guest Poem by Rex Sweeny

Rex Sweeny’s poems have appeared in The Dark Horse, Gutter, Poetry Scotland, The Poets’ Republic, The One O’Clock Gun, Open Minds Quarterly, Dreich and As Above So Below, and in anthologies including Summer Anywhere (2021) and Eccentric Orbits 3 (2022). He has lived in Leith for thirty years and hosts an annual poetry event for Leith Festival.

The silent place

Two sets of heavy doors,
solid as weightlifters’ shoulders
as they roll on their hinges noiseless
apart from a small cough
of protest or welcome

and then you’re in the space:

the grand rectangular
mural-encrusted incense-hinting
carved varnished gilded space
with its horizontal grid of wooden seats
and its wide, arched ceiling of glass and sky.

And the silence –

the silence like a giant beast
softly adjusting its bulk, its thick limbs –

the silence almost broken
by the sound of candles burning,
by the sound of your own breath –

the wound-easing silence
unnerving you with its questions,
insisting it isn’t an absence –

the inhabited silence.