“A citizen is…” – your responses in poetry

A collective poem which explores what it means to be a citizen

At our Stories & Scran event in August, we asked participants to complete the sentence “a citizen is...”. Leyla Jospehine, one of our Citizen Writers in Residence, has combined everyone’s different ideas to create a poem. Thank you to everyone who took part.



A citizen is dependable, reliable and solid

part of a community, they have a role

even if it’s not obvious immediately.

A citizen is as a citizen does.


A citizen is one of many

making up a community.

They have a responsibility.

A single fibre in a tapestry.

Individual and also intricately



A citizen tries to make things better.


They look out of their window and into the world

starting on their street, giving cuddles

and sharing smiles

to those that they meet.


A citizen isn’t just for one small place

a citizen must play a part in a wider debate.


They are a part of a complex jigsaw.

Unique, intricate. If we misplace a piece

the picture will never be complete.


A citizen is valuable and valued.


A citizen is the ultimate team player.

A citizen is not you or I, it is us

and all and together.


You are welcome here,

you belong here,

you are a citizen.



Citizen is our long-term creative programme working in partnership with organisations across Edinburgh and Musselburgh, offering local people a platform to explore identity, connection, place and everything it means to live in our world right now.

Citizen is part of Edinburgh International Book Festival On The Road. It is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland).

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