Pub poet to hand First Minister new piece of work

PUB poet George Robertson is to visit Alex Salmond at his official residence and present him with a new poem after the First Minister quoted one of his verses at the SNP conference.

Mr Robertson, 57, was delighted when he discovered Mr Salmond had read out his poem The Nonsense Ends – about a ‘Yes’ vote in the 2014 independence referendum – during his keynote speech in Perth last month.

The former brewery worker had penned the lines “off the top of his head” over a pint in the Radical Road pub, in Willowbrae, where Mr Salmond and his parliamentary colleagues were having a meal.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He was taken by surprise when after being thrust into the spotlight he then received a call from the First Minister’s office inviting him to Bute House.

He said: “I thought it was somebody winding me up, but it wasn’t. Then I thought, I’ve travelled a long way. I was in the Eastern General, which used to be the poor house for Leith, and grew up in the Canongate, which were basically slums at the time, and now here I am going to Bute House, the 10 Downing Street of Scotland.”

He has composed a new poem, entitled From There To Here, in honour of the occasion, which he has framed and plans to present to Mr Salmond. In the poem, Mr Robertson traces his journey from the “salty air of the North Sea” to “a two-roomed hutch” in the Canongate, then Meadowfield and ending with the lines “He shall take a cup o’ kindness in the splendour of Bute House”.

Mr Robertson, who is the brother of former Hearts striker John Robertson, has been getting used to celebrity status since the First Minister quoted his poem and he appeared in the Evening News.

He said: “I decided to write it to thank him.”

A spokesman for Mr Salmond said: “The First Minister is looking forward to welcoming George to Bute House. He is a fantastically gifted poet, and Mr Salmond was delighted to share his verse about the referendum with delegates at this year’s SNP conference.”

The poem

His first breath inhaled the salty air of the North Sea,

Once Leith’s poor house, the Eastern, by the cemetery.

Raised lovingly, nurtured, no silver spoon to clutch,

In a slum tenement in the Canongate, a two-roomed hutch.

Decanted to the luxury of Meadowfield, by the ancient hill,

Four sisters, two brothers, loved, loved still.

A father proud, a doting mother, done the best they could,

Misses both, saw them sleep in polished wood.

Now he shall tread a floor, no slum that warmed a mouse,

He shall take a cup o’ kindness in the splendour of Bute House.

George Robertson