January Swimmers

Lido at Christmas

The sky is dark within the outdoor bathing pool.

Thin wraiths of steam ascend the solitary swimmers.

Swimming in January is serious. Three men, one woman

Propel themselves in lengths scooped out by hands

And arms bent right to gain dramatic traction.

Lights, blue and white, bedeck the changing roofs;

A Christmas tree is pricked with small red torches.

Double glazed diners wear cashmere sweaters

And sharp pressed trousers. Warmer by the blue-grey splash outside,

They sense their privilege. Only the swimmers toil,

Washing themselves clean of the old year,

Buoying their souls to meet the coming spring.


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