The winning entry for the Maltings Free Press first edition poetry prize. The only entry so far as I know and the first poem I had written since school.

I have illustrated most of my poems, so an illustrated version may even now be sitting elsewhere in cyberspace . . . or maybe in a book.

Ode to a Short Bored Pile

Thy mother, an uncaring navvy band
cast down thy liquid flesh against dark clay
in shaft of post hole auger turn’d by hand.
Thou hardenst. Thou drovest out the joyous day.
Grey caryatid troll! Is nothing fair?
Or is it just as well that none may see
through rock, thou and thy unmet siblings share
In silent, dank, ungrumbling sympathy?
Know: Thou art ugly to the mind of man.
Thou bruis’st thy sponsor’s gentle intellect
when harsh need forced thee on his precious plan.
Thy price: his bane! Thus quoth the architect,
“Oh, deary me! Now why can’t piles be free?
The cash should go on what my chums can see!”

Nick James      Posted in:



1978 Edinburgh

Header Image:

Illustration by the Author