Channel swim

Where breakwaters shove the stones
And suck the channel water,
Clouds unfist the sun, black coating the shore.

The chalk-colored cliffs statuesque
Over a lighthouse curtaining the stubborn dark,
And I in a swim past the huts of fish.

In a blue unchanging world, I stroke through
The narrow crack, through the odors of an
Old sea; in a backward look, the shore is drinking the waves.

The map of my swim lies beneath, along the
Silver streak of pilchards, they cast their
Scales ousted from fishing nets; cleave forward in a fury.

Waves wallop me in a freestyle, assaulting my body,
Riveting cold, yet I take the challenge;
Sprawling, hunched in a wincing mask of agony.

Far from the Dover beach, I see a French window ajar,
Boats retching in a basin; I marvel at the onslaught.
In a harbor, I’m greeted by ring-billed gulls and casual valor.

I forsake my luck now, compelled by a sea bond;
Yet, I must make a gesture where others celebrate,
A daring act played out in a brief epic. I walk the plank of gratitude.

Copyright © 02/10/18 lance sheridan®


Channel swim

22 comments on “Channel swim

  1. Barbara says:

    Lance’s writings are remarkable, I’ve followed him for several years now and he has improved his works to excellence. This writing is totally outstanding, his voice and the images portrayed are rewarding to the soul, they’re ripe with action and a beautiful way to live in a world unknown to many. The images actually build inspiring, action filled rewards. Great!!!!!

  2. rabirius says:

    So many images flicker through my head…

  3. Polly says:

    Reblogged this on rocksandbones and commented:
    I can smell the invigorating, iodine-laced whiff of brine in this maritime masterpiece from Lance Sheridan!
    A layered poem that immerses the reader in the submerged worlds of the ocean and the mind.

  4. Polly says:

    Love it Lance! I have re-blogged with thoughts at

  5. Polly says:

    Great work, haunting images as ever.

  6. Polly says:

    A surrender of self to the waves.

  7. I cannot absorb your poetry at a single gulp. Your images are so carefully crafted, your portraits so precise that they deserve close attention. I come away the richer.

  8. Channel swim — Lance Sheridan, great detail, strong imagery. I feel though, you are holding back, for some reason hesitant  to invest all of yourself into the poems, an emotional resonance  restrained to the detrimant of the poems and replaced by a safe use of poetic device

  9. s. For example, the tone of this poem fails to move from the detached voice of narrator into the emotional, but still concrete, voice of a narrator immersed in the atmosphere of the poem. This detached voice is a common device used by many poets over time, almost cliche, a way of adding a poetic tone or feeling, understatement.

    This understatement is used effectively at times, but if the author uses understatement when he should be immersed in the poem, it doesn’t connect totally.

    But, as I said, I love the imagery and details and concreteness of your poems

  10. Reblogged this on Words Words Words and commented:
    Nice poem.

  11. tara caribou says:

    “the shore is drinking the waves”
    Oh man I love that line!!
    This is really quite wonderful.

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