Illustration Collaboration 7

In a series of posts, we are delighted to share the artworks that third year Edinburgh College of Art illustration students created in response to texts by our Citizen Writing Group.

Anna Bonsignorio

Notes on the Harmonica in Wartime by Dave Forbes

flaking corner bench

November birdsong

they dwindle away

a generation escaping

the sound of marching music

leaving an old man

standing quiet

except for the occasional

sound of wheezing


the place unimportant

since in every town

there is a bench

to remember Big Tam Baird

1893 – 1916

and for every Big Tam

a Wee Sammy

slower now

an old man

gas lungs heaving

drawn to quiet places

and old, old friends

Marnie McCallum

It must be 1967

for the sums to add up

Sammy is 77-years old

with nothing on his mind

except breathing

and a shortage of breath



through his jacket pockets

Sammy finds

a small leather box

slowly lifts out

a crack-mouthed

Hohner harmonica

kisses it


Xiang Meng

a tap tapping

against his palm

he makes his first sounds

interrupting his


and draw

with half-controlled coughing

xxthe xworldlovesa xxgoodtune

embdyxx kensthat

Sammy glances

a tired grin

towards Big Tam

xx memberthis bigxx man


Andy Shen

cradles the instrument

makes spittle

starts to play an air

a melody breathing

through autumn birdsong


through the greenish yellow

the choking cloud

through fearful moments

between prayers

and the opening of the valves


We are extremely grateful to the Third Year Illustration students at Edinburgh College of Art, and Harvey Dingwall for making this collaboration possible. The Citizen Writing Group is part of Citizen, our flagship communities project which 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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