My City

A garden wrapped in wool

pink, yellow and lavender

Hill

London flits through my mind

noise of birds, the bustle and smell

it’s quiet here

coastal

Bird calls are my sirens

crashing waves the south circular

this garden my Clapham Common

I’m home away from

home

A city that I longed to escape

pulls at me

Tugging at my hair, my skin, my nails

My breath comes too freely here

I gulp to fill my lungs with smog

just a salted sea breeze

Swansea croaks with fresh air

The spines of my books cracking with salt.

birds cat calling in the trees

I am isolated here

a child with her parents

escaped back to

home

From there to here

I long for what I had had

enough of

of London

 

Sea Swimmer 

Down to my swim suit, shivering amongst the rocks and sand. I am starting to think twice about wading into the murky water. The wind has picked up, as if I need any more incentive to ditch the swim. This will be more of a bamptism by ice than fire.

At my side is my brother. We have been talking about the possibility of cyclical time and have agreed that I need only stay in the water as long as it takes him to smoke a ‘rollie’. Apparently about two minutes. Thwarting this plan our mother appears over the crest of the costal path. No more ‘rollie’ timed swim for me. There is also now very little chance of bottling it and heading to the pub, as thick as theives pretending to have taken the icy plunge.

Walking down to the water over the muddy sand with voices breaking on my back, I try to pep myself up

“at least the water might be warmer than the air”

My toes confirm my suspicions. It is not. To save face I stride on defiantly, cold water engulfing me, swirling around my legs. It doesn’t really hit me until I am up to my chest.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph”

“Good God”

It is properly chilly. Well there is nothing for it. I gently push off the estury bed into a ladylike up head breaststroke. Quietly swearing under my breath. After a while the water around me begins to feel warmer but there is a gentle burning sensation letting me know it is not. When I emerge my legs will look like a pair of cheese puffs, stinging and numb.

Gently swimming against the current, it’s almost like being in a infinity pool. I feel completely connected to the earth bobbing about at the mouth of the estury, the temperature of the water making me feel giddily euphoric. After ten minuets or so of watching my brother skimming stones I decide that enough is enough and stumble ashore heady with adrenaline and endorphins.

The elated feeling ebs away as I struggle back into my clothes, the cold creeping back in. But in some small and insignificant way I have conquered the sea. And my own aversion to freezing water.

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