A Swan Prayer


I wrote this for a blog for a fashion start-up that – er – didn’t, after visiting the Nick Waplington photographic exhibition at Tate Britain earlier this year. Waplington’s exhibition juxtaposed images of landfills and rubbish heaps with backstage shots from Alexander McQueen’s ‘Horn of Plenty’ Collection – see above, who wouldn’t pray to the goddess in that dress? As the poem is not going to go where it was supposed to now, I’ll recycle it here.



Swan, who’s a bunch of milk roses; Swan

with poppies in your beak, whose feet are lilies

picked to be dyed black – my prayer is more.

More of the cut minerals and dressed pelts

monogrammed with air-miles, worn once

and then thrown; more hot technology,

more haute horologie – still watertight,

fathoms down. Max me out, pile my plate,

let whatever has been mined be burned.

Grant me further, faster, newer, rarer


or if I can’t have this then give me less.

Please. Release us from the weight of what

we own. Strip the dressers and the vaults

one by one, rip the image down,

make all the things that we assert

be subject to the sweet dissolve and rot. Flick

the switch on our light, take the heat from our thought:

Swan – I’ll make my mind a bowl and scrape it clean

for you to fill with more of nothing than anyone.

Oil black, rust red, bone white Swan.


Watch The Horn of Plenty! show

Interview with Nick Waplington


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