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Final line comes home February 28, 2010

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It was a chilled and blustery afternoon on the Castle esplanade. Yet a dedicated team of poem hunters, the bravest of the bunch, turned out to meet with the ghost of Elizabeth Galbraith herself. They all discovered the line at the same time, and it was a race to the Poetry Library — but only Margaret Forrest had thought to bring her bike.

Margaret, not even out of breath

Write the lines o your ain life, for now I am done.

We have already received enquiries from Lothian & Borders Police about Margaret’s availability over the next year — apparently they have several unsolved cases which need her attention.

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Line 1 found February 28, 2010

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It was the longest-running puzzle and we feared it would never be found. But Chris Scott followed a long and windy trail, pursuing the spirits of dead poets through publications and coffee shops to, finally, bring line 1 home to the Poetry Library on Saturday.

Chris introduces Line 1

These are the lines and the loves o my life

Allegedly Chris is considering leaving photography to embark on a new career as a private eye.

A final mystery? February 26, 2010

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Right at the start, when we discovered the story of Elizabeth for the first time, we heard her family had a secret poem which was passed down the generations, from mother to daughter. The whole time we’ve been working on the assumption that this poem was very old indeed.

But something has been bothering us. Line 5 reads:

Wed in the Trinity Kirk, afore it came down;

The Kirk was demolished in 1848 to make way for Waverley Station, and Elizabeth was born in 1804. We know nothing about her mother, but … how could a previous generation know that the Kirk would be demolished? The poem can hardly be the same one that was passed through the generations.

Maybe the final lines will shed light on this.

Haunted February 26, 2010

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Last night was very strange. It was a sleepless night for each of the Hunt The Poem team. There was nothing any of us could put our finger on but … we couldn’t seem to settle.

The recovered words of Elizabeth’s poem have been coming back to us at strange times: when we’re walking at night; snatches on the radio; in the middle of other texts. We’ve found ourselves trailing off in the middle of random conversations, distracted by a word or a phrase. I think we’ve all been asked, with some irritation, “When will you be finished with this Hunt The Poem thing?”

Then this morning, this turns up in the mailbox:

Approaching the End February 25, 2010

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Hunt The Poem officially closes this Saturday, February 27th. Will Line 1 or Line 12 be recovered in time?

Don’t worry, because you are invited to the closing event and prizegiving at the Poetry Library on Saturday, 3pm–5pm. Come along, bring your friends, drink our free wine and juice, meet the other hunters and, at last, the Hunt The Poem team. We will answer your questions on the challenges and — hopefully — assemble Elizabeth’s poem at long last.

Hope to see you there!

Line 9 found! February 25, 2010

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Two days to go before Hunt The Poem wraps up. Hannah Cornish sat down, put her head in a book — several, in fact — and recovered line 9.

My second not as kind as my first,

You can still hunt line 9 yourself for fun but the prize is gone! Why not concentrate on Line 1 instead?

The Face of Elizabeth? February 24, 2010

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We have been delighted at each and every discovery of a line from Elizabeth’s poem. But we did not expect what arrived at Hunt The Poem HQ today.

The downturn in the economy has closed many small businesses around the city. One poem hunter — who wants to remain nameless, for reasons which will become obvious — has been clearing an office in Tollcross which was, in happier times, a photographer’s studio. In one of the cupboards she discovered a box of prints marked UNCOLLECTED, and on a impulse slipped them into her bag to save them from the sheriff’s officers.

When she looked through them at home, among the many sombre family groups and devotional portraits she discovered a familiar name: Elizabeth Galbraith. The dates do seem to correspond to what we know of Elizabeth’s lifespan.

Could this be a photograph of Elizabeth, the last one to carry this particular poem?

Line 5 found February 22, 2010

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Mondays seem to be charmed. Joe Halliwell surveyed the city from space, traversed some winding closes and discovered Line 5!

Joe delivers Line 5

Wed in the Trinity Kirk, afore it came down;

You can still hunt line 5 yourself for fun but the prize is gone! Why not try Line 1 or Line 9 instead?

Line 10 found February 22, 2010

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Nobody can say Martin Ramsay had an unproductive weekend. He braved protest marches and police roadblocks to entertain us with some Spike Milligan verse on Saturday afternoon.

Little did we know he had already made some new friends across the globe — by sheer determination — and he carried two poems by post to bring home Line 10.

Martin finds Line 10

Squire of the slums with a jailor’s hands

You can still hunt line 10 yourself for fun but the prize is gone! Try another line instead?

Final Clue February 20, 2010

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At last we’ve got the clue to the final line — Line 5. The rest of Elizabeth’s poem is out there and waiting to be found.

But wait

Closing In February 19, 2010

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It seems that not much slows down you poetry hunters. Despite our postbox being literally destroyed, we’re getting communications from distant places about Line 10. And there seems to be some group effort brewing on Line 1 and Line 9.

Remember that tomorrow is the Hunt The Poem meetup and poetry reading. Hope you can make it to the Poetry Library at 5pm. You’ll be tired after a hard afternoon’s hunting so we’ll spring for a cup of tea and some biccies. Get there on time because the library throws us out at 6.30pm!

Tick Tock February 17, 2010

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It’s been a great week for Hunt The Poem so far. Seven lines have been safely returned to the Poetry Library. But now we hear two lines are in danger of being lost forever.

Line 12 is one of the easiest challenges; all you need to do is send an email about a poem you particularly like. Of course it’s not quite that simple — what could that mention of courage be about? — but it’s easy to get started. The bad news is, if you don’t start this challenge in the next couple of days, you will never find line 12.

Also Line 1 is still out there somewhere. It’s surely the key to understanding Elizabeth’s poem, yet nobody can seem to find it. We hear one family got very close but missed an important clue.

Maybe this will help — an eagle-eyed hunter spotted it in last week’s copy of The List:

I SAW YOU hunting the poem. I left a message for Rab at the elephant house.

The only other thing we’ve heard about Line 1 is “Gavin doesn’t like to go to Nicolson Street.” Does this mean anything to you?

Line 3 found February 17, 2010

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The poem hunters are getting serious this week. Chris Scott — clearly a man with an appreciation for history — took a walk in the footsteps of Burke & Hare and snatched up line 3.

Chris finds Line 3

First kiss wi a man wi blood on his knife;

You can still hunt line 3 yourself for fun but the prize is gone! Try another line instead?

Line 4 found! February 16, 2010

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And the lines are coming in thick and fast. This makes the third discovery this week so far!
Daniel Winterstein got out and about in amongst some weighty tomes and found line 4 of the poem.

First love near the bones o’ a poet laid low

You can still hunt line 4 yourself for fun but the prize is gone! Try another line instead?

Hunt The Poem Meetup February 16, 2010

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It’s been two weeks now and here at Hunt The Poem HQ we’ve enjoyed hearing about your individual exploits — you’ve been turning the city upside down looking for the missing lines of the poem.

We thought you would like a chance to get together so we’ve arranged a meetup on Saturday 20th. It will run 5pm–6.30pm in the Poetry Library and you’re invited.

To get you in the mood, there will be a short poetry reading first and then time to meet your fellow hunters.

Lines 6 and 11 Found! February 15, 2010

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The mighty Margaret Forrest has done it again, bringing in Line 6 and then Line 11 to the Poetry Library in one day.

Margaret put herself in the picture to rub shoulders with the poets of the past, constructing her own trail of photographs. She eventually tracked down modern poets Nick MacDonald and Willie Gibson to assemble Line 6.

Raised bairns in the shade o the speaking house;

Line 11 was all about communication. Margaret needed help from her mother Catherine Petzsch and her husband Ian Forrest to solve a crossword with one clue missing. This led her to pull a missing line literally out of the air.

So carry my poem, lass, carry it on,

You can still hunt line 6 or line 11 yourself for fun, but the prizes have gone! Try another line instead?

A Clue From The Past February 14, 2010

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You’ve been all over Edinburgh searching for the missing lines of Elizabeth’s poem. But now you need to take a step further — and walk into the past.

Pull on a pair of sturdy shoes, and print out the clue to Line 3.

Line 2 found! February 13, 2010

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We love nothing better on a Saturday afternoon than the discovery of another line of the poem.
Gemma Steele completed the geocache challenge and brought in line 2 of the poem.

My birth by the Water o’ Leith running slow

You can still hunt line 2 yourself for fun but the prize is gone! Try another line instead?

Cross Purposes February 13, 2010

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After all these terribly cryptic clues and expeditions around the city, you may be pleased to see that the clue for Line 11 is a simple crossword you can do at home with your feet up in front of the fire.

But wait — one of the crossword clues is missing. How could anybody possibly complete it?

Chew On This February 11, 2010

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A clue for Line 9 is here for you to ponder over lunch. It’s another cryptic one, just as fiendish as Line 4. That’s been unsolved for nine days now. Are you getting anywhere? Post a comment and let us know.