Promoting Poetry in Scotland

The Bearsden Shark | edwin morgan


O what a whack of a black of a sleek sweet cheeky tail in its big blue den

Of water! There were no bears then!

Waterworld it was, warm and salty, wet and scary,

Wild shapes, no ships, no sheep, no sheep-dip, a deep deep, very!

Fish but no fishermen, no fishmen, no kingfishers, no kings,

Fish fishing for fish, yes, anglers, rays, jaws, shocks, wings,

And all those early murky milky things,

Stings on strings, things that spring.

Through shoal and shining flock and froth and freath and freaky frisky flashers,

         like a liner,

The Bearsden shark coasts casually, kinglily, killingly casual, casing the scales,

         lazily pacing and chasing, lord of the place, of the plaice, lordly diner.

Little does he know of land and ocean, change and chance.

Little would he care if he knew. Little would he change if he cared. Little would he

         love if he changed it. His is reality without remorse or romance.

Heroic long-dead creature, waiting in death

To be discovered, uncovered, recovered, recalled from the cold solid soil that never

         felt your breath:

We have you in a fosse, a fossil, a fragile long-forgotten force of our growing,

         growling, grounded, founded but bounding, bonding and unbonding earth.

happiness | at poppy’s | heaven | my day among the cannonballs