Day One Hundred and Eighty One: Swans and Competitions

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.

Day One Hundred and Seventy Eight

The compulsion to write something, anything continues to grow almost seven months into this project but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Not that my days are jam packed with things, you see – there’s always time to do a quick blog post like this – but occasionally the desire to write is met with nothing of worth to say.

That’s not to say I no longer enjoy this, I do. It’s become a daily ritual, in a way, and as the year moves by ever so slowly I’m kind of beginning to think I should also talk about current events and not just poetry and music.

Or perhaps not. Maybe this it’s good that my blog doesn’t do that.

I toy with getting a dedicated URL for this thing and perhaps a new layout. A site of my very own, if you will. But alas it seems pointless when hits have dipped to around 8 people a day. If only there was a way to get more people to read…

Anyway, to wit – is it good to write something even if you have nothing to say? Surely any writing is good practice? I’m unsure.

Still working on competition entries. It closes on Thursday. I dunno if I’ll make it, last year’s winner was, to put it bluntly, spectacular. Really, what’s a no name, amateur poet with nary a pamphlet, never mind a collection to my name, doing entering a competition judged by the poet laureate?!

There is no end in site (sic) for this project and to be honest, I kind of like it that way.

Day One Hundred and Seventy Seven: Failed Competition Entry Take Two

A couple of days ago I posted my failed competition entry. Well, the original version of it is actually much longer, and you can see that below.

This is a bit more rough and kind of incomplete. It would have been longer still, but after noticing that the competition was limited to 42 lines I scaled it back. An interesting look at the evolution of a piece of work, even if said piece of work isn’t the best.

Waves as black as ink rolled across the horizon,
Reflecting the watercolour sky.
We moved along the beach, hand in hand,
Borrowed bare feet burrowed in white sand
Embraced in a lovers tryst
whilst pearls danced at sea.

Above this wealthy ocean
is an even richer ceiling,
embedded with half a universe of jewels.
The golden sands of the day
turn into moon dust at night –
White and feathery,
Sparkling and bright
under the gaze of lunar light.

The rhythm of the ocean swayed
like Aphrodite’s hips.
Even at night the birds sing
keeping to the beat of the tide,
ensuring the obsidian ecosystem
moves in the circle of all things.
Their dark beaks darting into the murky tide,
ending aquatic life to the dark backdrop of the night.

Up in that night sky, stars burn
countless millions of miles away,
you and I
we look to the heavens,
and realise this all comes full circle.
The dust from these stars,
the dust on the moon,
becomes the sand at our feet
connected by cosmic grace,
akin to some intergalactic melody
each part played in harmony.

In the silence the pearl crested waves
Lap shells against the shore
and swim back out again
with the everlasting tide.
Against the shore as one, we stood,
staring out into ocean
completing the circle of nature’s unity –
this Earth began as star dust
and that is how it will truly end
and everything will begin again.

Off in the distance there is life on the pier,
generation rejoices with generation
dancing the night away.
From the beach we walk into the sea,
observing pentatonic cadence all around us
a great counter melody to this wonderful night.

Dawn crept in.
Slowly the dark night
turned into the brightest day.
We crept under the pier
sunlight’s beautiful crescendo
breathing new life into all.

See – not very good a slightly longer than it really should be.

I’ll have more cool stuff over the next week or so.

Day One Hundred and Seventy Six: A New Favourite

Posting this from my phone, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet.

Some recent inspiration has been found in Dylan Thomas’ Collected Poems and I thought I’d share one with you. I’ve heard it said that this one isn’t particularly accessible, but I love it. Especially the last stanza.

Love In the Asylum by Dylan Thomas

A stranger has come
To share my room in the house not right in the head,
A girl mad as birds

Bolting the night of the door with her arm her plume.
Strait in the mazed bed
She deludes the heaven-proof house with entering clouds

Yet she deludes with walking the nightmarish room,
At large as the dead,
Or rides the imagined oceans of
the male wards.

She has come possessed
Who admits the delusive light through the bouncing wall, Possessed by the skies

She sleeps in the narrow trough yet she walks the dust
Yet raves at her will
On the madhouse boards worn thin by my walking tears.

And taken by light in her arms at long and dear last
I may without fail
Suffer the first vision that set fire to the stars.