Swans on the Clyde

Ailsa Morgan

She never thought she’d see the day,

She told me. She remembers another river –


Boiled and churned with steel, grease,

Lined with lather, lapping, sluggishly, then

Surging to gobble the Kelvin

Hungry and murky. The unwashed dish

Of Scotland’s sink, straining and

Pulling on its stained liquid lip

Swollen with its own ferrous water, broken-backed

With the weight of its jewels. Queen of industry –

Of commerce, of a city as old as America. Bruised

And split, by the ragged sleeves

Of ships.


Now look, she says, with still eyes.

Swans on the Clyde. Fish. Their paper lives

Held like gypsophila in the river’s blue hands.

{ Ailsa Morgan } Bio

I love poetry, traditional music, and Virginia Woolf. I’m learning Gaelic, but am still feart of fluent speakers, so be kind and warn me before saying Madainn Mhath.