Strong Arms For Armstrong
Swimming can hurt your arms in May,
when the water’s cold and you spend
each 40 minute lesson elbow-locked
on the grab-rail, a toy acrobat
permanently squeezed to the top.
In July, when the sun had warmed
the pool and we splashed like
netted herring in the shallow end,
Miss Armstrong hauled us to the side,
commanded us to swim widths.
Some, with paddles dogs would scorn,
made it to the other rail, most gave out
around the middle of The Great Expanse.
After, as we dried, I boasted it was just
the others splashing stopped me.
‘Go on then, on your own. Get in.’
Arms V-ed back on the rail, a kick
a frog prince could have called his own,
several strokes we’ll call freestyle and
I touched the far side. There was applause.
after Robert Garnham
There was a young man from Cork,
who decided to write a Cork.
He didn’t know what the format was,
but did the best he could,
wishing all the while he came from Limerick.
They know about the tides,
the bulge of waterfat
I drag around the world.
They know I cover saltmarsh,
fold back rockpools,
change the water regularly.
They also know about
the seasons, that a chance
collision chained me to them,
knocked their globe askew
by just enough to give them
They only don’t know
how life contacted them,
won’t find the answer here.
Look back in the pools,
where the sun that burns us both
shakes out the ribosomes.
Simon Williams has written poetry for 35 years. It ranges widely, from quirky pieces often derived from news items or science and technology, to biographical themes, to the occasional Clerihew. He has five published collections, the latest being A Place Where Odd Animals Stand (Oversteps Books, 2012) and Wastrels (Paper Dart Press, 2015). Simon has a website at simonwilliamspoet.moonfruit.com, was The Bard of Exeter in 2013 and founded The Broadsheet (www.thebroadsheet.moonfruit.com). He makes a living as a journalist.