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This poem is taken from PN Review 46, Volume 12 Number 2, November - December 1985.

The Swimming Body Jeffrey Wainwright


In this world or out of it? -
The senses mostly muffled up for a while;
Or lapped in its elements,
Even this simple exemplary tank
Has the world's halves, and gives a line
To be followed, and followed.

I've pressed the goggles to my face,
Decided whether to jump or dive,
And now follow the line, breathing by the book,
Using the water as a pillow, rolling right
Behind the bow-wave, centreing to look
Straight in front, just below the surface,
The elbow high on entering, the hand palm down
Between shoulder and head, looking for it there,
Seeking its feel and its catch on the water
To draw movement from it.

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