Friday, January 29, 2010

Poetry Friday -- Swimming

photo by gabyu


SWIMMING

First it's about the shock of the cold
and the strength of the first five laps.
Then, for the next howevermany laps,
it's about the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the cardinal outside my window this morning
and the things I need to do this weekend
and the things that didn't get done today.

It's the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the girl in the purple bikini in the lane next to me.
She swims so fast it seems like she's on top of the water
instead of in it,
like I am.

It's the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

It's the smell of the chlorine
and the push off the wall.

And the rhythm
and the breathing
and the black line below me.

Finally it's about the deliciously hot water of the shower
and the sting of the cold air on my damp head.
It's about

the drive home and
the late dinner and
the falling asleep.



This is a poem about what it's like to swim laps. While it might look tedious from the deck (back and forth, back and forth), there's actually a lot going on inside my head while I swim. Besides working to keep track of my lap count, I think about my day, plan what needs to get done tomorrow, and make up stories about the swimmers around me. The counting keeps me focused, though, and makes my swim a 30 or 40 minute meditation. And no matter what else my mind is doing, the swim is always about the rhythm and the breathing and the black line below me.



Anastasia has the Poetry Friday round up today at Picture Book of the Day.

As you can see in the sidebar, we only have a month of hosts left for the Poetry Friday round up. If you'd like to host, pick a Friday in March, April, May, June or July (except July 16 -- I'm taking that one) and leave a message in the comments or send an email to me at mlhahn AT earthlink DOT net.


16 comments:

  1. Mary Lee,
    I LOVE this poem, especially the repeated lines. It makes me want to find a pool and start swimming again.

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  2. :-) Then my poem did its job!

    I had fun writing it -- I recorded my ideas on Voice Memo on my iPhone on the drive home and the bones of the poem (especially the repeating phrase) were waiting for me when I got up this morning to write!

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  3. This is wonderful, Mary Lee. I especially love the refrain and the "howevermany laps." The rhythm is so perfect. Makes me envy you your swimming time, too!

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  4. I'm going to use this as a mentor piece for looking at repeating lines in poetry today.
    I found an "approved" way for our classes to comment to each other about Iweb. More later...

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  5. Ooh, I love the rhythm!

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  6. Love the poem, Mary Lee. The rhythm and repetition are just perfect. I really felt the movement, your thoughts, the meditation. "howevermany laps" is faboo!

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  7. Great poem!

    I'd love to host Poetry Friday on the TeachingBooks.net blog http://forum.teachingbooks.net/

    Danika

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  8. Mary Lee-
    Your poem is beautiful. Wonderful imagery!
    I would love to host Poetry Friday on Some Novel Ideas. Just let me know when and what to do!
    Stacy

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  9. I love the way your thoughts bounce away then come back - it's so true! And I can picture your arms moving to the rhythm of the poem - I'm going to read this to my boys tomorrow before they go swimming in the afternoon. Though I suspect they'll be less focused on the task in hand!

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  10. I would be happy to host on my blog. Can you assign me a Friday in June?

    http://thecazzyfiles.typepad.com

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  11. I love your poem. It took me back to the hours and days and years of watching those black lines at the bottom of the pool. I agree with Carol...it makes me wonder where I put my goggles.

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  12. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comment. That is exactly what I wanted to do - to help people feel the impact of this tragedy on so many.

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  13. Mary Lee,

    Thanks again for your kind comments on the Dust Bowl website. You have quite an enterprise of your own going here! I especially liked your phrase above "the bones of the poem." Don't know why I never thought of that....

    I don't see a place here to sign off with a URL, so if it's okay I'll write it here. It goes:
    http://dustbowlpoetry.wordpress.com
    I'm still not a very savvy blogger, haven't figured out a profile, etc.

    Many thanks! I hope all the teachers here have a good week. (I'm a teacher too, only my students may be a little taller than yours, Mary Lee!)

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  14. This is how I feel when I run, Mary Lee! Running clears my head and allows me to think. Thanks for sharing your poem with us!

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  15. I've been quite under the weather for the past few days, but your poem epitomizes what swimming is for me. I love when a poet can put words on a page that represent what I feel. Thanks!

    Now, I need to start back in the habit of swimming. Miss it bunches after reading your poem!

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  16. hi.. i read your comment on my blog, but I can't find the post of yours I originally commented on...I guess I should have signed up for email notification. I would like to take the first Friday in July - hopefully by then I will have some content and some readers.
    breannep

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