Mark Fraser: Day One Hundred and Eighty One – Swans and Competitions

Posted on June 30, 2011 by


I submitted a poem to the Bridport Prize competition yesterday. Initially it was going to be this one after numerous rewrites, edits and redrafts but I eventually went with something else that was better. Perhaps it’ll see the light of day on this blog towards the end of the year. Believe when I say that what I submitted is light years ahead of this work, and all of the work I’ve produced so far.

You can call this failed competition entry number two, if you like.

Squiggly (342/365)

Impurities inherent in the Glasgow skyline
come to the fore on dreich days like these;

Shopping trolleys tossed into the river,
Seagulls darting in and out, under and over
the 72 bridges that straddle the Clyde.
Ships old and new and under construction act as an echo
of this once busy industrial thoroughfare.

Regeneration mounts the banks of the city centre
bringing a vision of promise to this ashen land,
so that when the rain finally falls (and it will fall)
this township is reduced to its previous state;
old and gray and wet and grainy.

On the squiggly bridge umbrellas and rain coats bustle to and fro in a hurry,
Making full use of this £7m postmodern slalom shaped wonder.

Underneath, where the torrents of rain blow sideways,
birds are oblivious to our comings and goings.

A rare sight – yellow black beak, pristine white plume,
swooping with a royal grace that would make King George V swoon.

Paddling along past old shipyards, shadows of their former selves,
paying attention to the juxtaposition of old industrial might,
frigates as symbols of old working class pride,
against the modern middle class flats that have taken their place.

White swans glide gently down the Clyde
Unsurprised at the leaky steel gray ceiling
of this proud city’s living museum.

Posted in: Mark Fraser