Life-long Aquatic Dread

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Neither parents present at first swim,

pale-pathetic, goose-bumped skin,

life-long aquatic dread quickly set in.

 

Arm motions awkward, geek-clumsy,

turbulent limb-thrashed pool sudsy,

lungfuls of salt-water, Louis unlucky.

 

Myopic, un-muscular, aged merely six,

middle-class, very un-virile, a bit thick;

nude-nervous, fearful, in-and-out quick

 

from showers, menacing macho laughs:

swear-shouting sneers, working class lads;

cold brutal bulk, hated Blackrock baths.

 

2.

Final failure at boarding school,

dog-paddle pupil sank like metal tool,

panic-paralysed at bottom of pool.

 

Flailing futile – is drowning my end?

Fully-clothed poolside form friend

prepared to jump… but slowly I ascend.

 

3.

Fifty years on, feet still stupidly flap,

short-sighted blur, tight swimming cap,

infrequently visited, deep-end death-trap.

 

Pool-roof echoes, potent chlorine smell

nauseated ninny, tiles echo Hemmings hell,

relief when heard end-of-session bell.

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