A poem to our graduating students, Summer 2020, made with words and phrases chosen for you by the Chaplains, Schools, and Support Services of the University.
This poem is loosely inspired by the haiku of the C17 Samurai poet and physician, Mizuta Masahide.

Photograph of brown rock formations in the foreground, in the background the moon is rising over the hills.
2020 Vision

Barn’s burnt down.


I can see the moon.


‘2020 Vision’  

What has burnt down?

The graduation you pictured,

the signposted path,

thinking we knew where we were going,

complacency about the world and where we all stand in it.


We are saying goodbye to those challenging moments

fear and disquiet -

fear, anxiety and all other unnecessary burdens.

Turnitin; PowerPoint (some hope); exams -

Exams, revision, essay submission deadlines,

grades and results.

Vocab lists,


All-nighters (why did I do it?).

We are saying goodbye to: “We wish you’d done something sensible, like law or accountancy”!


We are saying goodbye to

familiar places.

Special corners of the city and university,

Appleton Tower; Teviot;

Chaplaincy teas & coffees;

an auditorium full of students;

big cheese and library desk hogging,


cobbled hills;

Greyfriars Bobby

watching the skateboarders in Bristo Square

conversations sitting in George Square on sunny days

and a big purple cow in George Square Gardens (for this year, at least),



wind, rain, snow and sun (sometimes all in one day)

evening walks up Arthur’s Seat

- Arthur’s Seat -

views from Arthur Seat, and it getting dark at 4pm in November.


We are saying goodbye to you,

our students,

and welcoming you as alumni

We are saying goodbye to friends –

but we’ll see you again soon.



a moment to celebrate you and everything you’ve overcome.

We celebrate you,

and the promise of what you are and will bring to the world


As you leave the city of enlightenment

We wish you Light for life's path

And the restoration of peace where-ever its shadow may fall.


We wish you new vistas

a fresh new start, well-equipped from Edinburgh!:

a future in which you are inspired and inspiring,


a creative mind,

a sense of humour

patience with technology,

opportunities to deepen relationships,

adventure and opportunity,

strength, courage and resilience,

curiosity and creative living

optimism and perseverance

confidence and reflection.

Fearless wisdom, compassion and loving kindness.


We wish you

to Be Brave and Take Risks - have faith in yourself.

It's time to regain control of your life,

recover everything we have missed over the past months


We wish you

the courage to envision a new and better future for us all.


We wish you something special, more than a degree.

Success and satisfaction – whatever that means to you.

An ongoing journey of self discovery,

the confidence to always believe in yourself, and

a sense of fulfilment as you follow your calling.

Courage, resilience & joy -

joy as you follow your bliss -

joy, peace, and happiness -

happiness and contentment.


Photograph of people walking along a path. On either side of the path there are cherry blossoms blooming in the Meadows.
Cherry Blossom in the Meadows. Photo by Harriet Harris

Blessings on your onward journey, strengthened by uplifting memories of your time at the


We wish you reading for pleasure,

laughter with new friends and lasting connections with old,

A happy and fulfilling life;

fond memories of Edinburgh -

fond memories of the people, spaces, places and cherry blossoms of Edinburgh.


Well – the future is safe in your hands and we are very proud of you.


Pandemic or no-pandemic, we can still find vision and purpose. The University Chaplain, Harriet Harris, gives some pointers on how we might do this, "Finding vision and purpose when the future is so uncertain"

It’s a message for us all, and especially our wonderful graduates whom we are celebrating this summer.

Congratulations to all our Summer 2020 graduates!

Blue doodle with the text: and in the end there is the beginning of a story