UK's largest poem unveiled on Royal Mile banner
Published 08/10/2015 | 13:21
A huge banner displaying what is believed to be the UK's largest printed poem has been unveiled on Edinburgh's Royal Mile.
Spiral, by Elizabeth Burns, has been reproduced on a 25 by eight metre sign to mark National Poetry Day today and will remain in place on the famous street until next summer.
The poet, who was a descendant of the family of Robert Burns, died in August aged 57 and her family said it was a poignant moment when they saw her work displayed on the poster for the first time this morning.
The short poem, inspired by the spinning motion of the potter's wheel, was selected from a shortlist of five by a public vote in a competition run by the Scottish Poetry Library.
It has been attached to scaffolding covering the facade of the historic Sailor's Ark building on the Canongate, currently being transformed as part of the area's redevelopment.
Elizabeth's husband Alan Rice travelled to Edinburgh for the unveiling with the poet's mother Muriel and sister Alison.
"It's the first time I have seen the poem in this context - so large and beautiful. It's amazing to imagine people from all over the world having the opportunity to see it," he said.
"Anyone that knew Elizabeth would have known she was so self-effacing, for it to be a fault.
"For her, I think it would have been very strange to see words of her up there but eventually she would have been exceptionally proud."
Mr Rice, from Lancaster, where Elizabeth lived and taught creative writing, added: " To walk out here and to see Elizabeth's words so large was very, very moving for us all.
"We've been through a very tough few months - Elizabeth had a long struggle with cancer over seven years and then we had the summer with her before she died."
The poem was read at the site by Edinburgh Makar Christine de Luca, who said: "It's very exciting - so often, poetry is tucked away in libraries and quiet spaces .
"To bring it out into the public arena is a very good thing - especially when it's such an accessible poem like this."