The Clyde Paddle Steamers

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Memory as clear as a perfect summer;

two-funnelled steamship, day trip

to Inverary. Pier to pier under fug

of smoke; going below

to watch engine cranks turn mesmerically;

on the way back people on deck

singing to an accordion band.


Most of the Clyde paddle steamers

scattered or scrapped. One lay berthed

on the Thames, lost. Just

the cash-strapped Waverley,

still sailing each summer day

for the islands or up the sea lochs;

Kyles of Bute, hills of Argyll, mountains of Arran. 

ClydePaddle steamers

◄ Kicking and screaming

Rooftops (for Bruno Cordati) ►


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John Coopey

Thu 4th Aug 2011 09:39

I gather from my forks porks that the Clyde Paddle Steamers have nothing to do with Glasgow?
Hey Ho! Glasgow's nice anyway.

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John Coopey

Mon 1st Aug 2011 10:17

Enjoyed this, Greg.
It brought back memories of some time I spent in Glasgow a few years ago. A much under-rated city, beautiful architecture above the shops.

<Deleted User> (7075)

Sun 31st Jul 2011 00:13

Aha , an interesting exercise Greg, liked the end particularly, win x

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Greg Freeman

Sat 30th Jul 2011 11:43

This poem is borrowed from an evocative article by Ian Jack in today's Guardian One of the points in Ian's article is that the sole surviving Clyde paddle steamer, the Waverley, needs cash to keep it afloat. If you're interested, the website is

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