Edinburgh Reading Room

 

 

 

 

 

this is a city built on faith
seeking salvation safety
fifteen-hundred-years ago
vassals constructed churches
castles on lava fields
above five dormant or extinct volcanoes
still business goes on
today a university girl
encased in an information booth
doesn't remember David Hume
shunned as he was in his lifetime
by academies of Anglicans
although she has good reason
after what he did
she may be nothing more
than doubtful perceptions
may not exist at all
except in what she can collect
in the limited net of her senses
in desperation she offers
directions to a modern
library of self-assured
sophisticated keepers who explain
in seventy-six they celebrated
the bi-centennial of Hume's demise
then lead the way to a secluded room
where hands of whitest cotton
deliver to examination
a first edition of the Treatise

moving the quiet hours along
a circling sun slants through
parted window blinds outside
the city murmurs into late afternoon
and despite definitive decrees
imposed by the tilting twin tower
monuments of faith and hate
that make a single shape
against the clear blue skeptic sky
deep beneath the cobbled streets
there's still the tremors
of agnostic rumblings