From Look Winter in the Face, a collection of poems published in winter, 2015.


Look I said
I’ll hold your hand believe me I won’t let go
the water is so clear and the sun boiling hot
the water will feel just
It will be like this:
the slap of the water on our feet when we punch through the surface
the white splash we plunge through and under
bubbles of air sticking to our skin
glass beads glued on
just for that instant and
when the water settles around us
we will see our shadows on the bottom of the pool
but we don’t go there ourselves of course
Too deep. It’s us but not us. Wave at yourself
twelve feet down
from afloat in a layer of cool pale translucent
Just come on. Hold my hand. I won’t let go.

Girl diving into the pool, clay tile 4" x 4" - December, 2016.

Girl diving into the pool, clay tile 4″ x 4″ – December, 2016.


19 thoughts on “Barrier

  1. Thank you. I learned to swim at age four and was a competitive swimmer all my childhood, so I spent a lot of time at the pool. I still swim, and this poem is a mix of all the feelings I have had about the outdoor pool in summer, as a child and adult…

  2. I’ve never enjoyed swimming. Being brought up in the north of England with just a cruddy municipal swimming pool with the changing cubicles along the edge so people in the water could see you getting changed under the door didn’t help probably, but I’ve never really understood why people do it.

  3. Swimming to me, especially in the outdoor pool, is just pleasure, and I always feel surrounded and safe and yet in another world, when I am in the water like this. And filled with impressions – since the rules of this world are different from everyday air-oriented life! I pay extra attention.

  4. I LOVE being in the water and many of my earliest memories are of swimming, in the pool or the ocean, which I particularly loved, but we lived a two days’ drive from it and so it was not our usual experience. I feel a whole different person in the water, especially outdoors.

  5. Before I realized you were talking about a pool, your poem took me back to my childhood when I jumped into an icy cold lake from a wooden dock. I remember it in the third person, probably from the 8mm film my father took at that time.

    Beautiful work.

  6. Thank you. I rarely swam in “natural” water until I was a teenager; my first memories are of our local pool, where I took swim lessons, swam on the team, etc., as a young girl. I get the same feeling even now, fifty years later, just going to the pool. Never ends, those early memories, glad they are good ones.

  7. How inviting…I found myself wondering if that sort of invitation would have helped me as a child. I took a while to roll in, jump in and dive in…in the end I enjoyed swimming especially in lakes and rivers etc

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