Sample poem

Learning to swim

(after Stevie Smith)

Thrown in at the deep end,

I’m required to sink or swim,

and my body chooses to sink.

But my limbs rebel –

legs thrashing the water,

arms threshing the air –

as I go down for the third time.

Not swimming but sinking.

Not waving but drowning.


But in the sea it’s different,

in the saline surge of the waves,

the lift and buffet of tumbled water,

in the cool clasp of a tilting meniscus.

Surprised, I find myself buoyant,

bobbing, drifting, floating.

See how far out I am now!

Not sinking but swimming.

Not drowning but waving.

© Barbara Lennox 2013


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