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®



41 comments on “Channel swim

  1. B. says:

    I am impressed…

  2. You have a gift for words.

  3. Lona Gynt says:

    You swam this in your poem, have swam it? Either way, this is so vivid, I swim about 1.3 Miles most days – in 25 yard increments, the ache is a good sign of strength, the ache in your poem is palpably terrifying, and real, as is the relief. I don’t know that it is important if you had swam the channel, I haven’t asked if you have captained a train in Silver Leash, or if you were a fisherman in Naked Sea in a Still Place, no matter, in any event your artistry has strapped us to the mind and pain of the swimmer, we are carried along for the ride. 🏊‍♂️

  4. Lona Gynt says:

    The shore is drinking the waves – terrifying.

  5. Your poetry is so beautiful!

  6. Dorianna says:

    Haven’t swam much in the ocean tho visited many a shoreline. When my son was young, he convinced me to jump off a bridge into our lake. It was only about 25 feet to the water. I was not a great swimmer and the water was rough from all the boats on the lake. It was a hellish experience hitting the water, going so deep and attempting to swim to our personal dock. Your poem took me back to that jump.

  7. I simply fell in love with your last two lines: A daring act played out in a brief epic. I walk the plank of gratitude.
    So cool 😎

  8. almerighi says:

    bellissima anche questa, domani mattina (ora italiana) uscirà l’articolo con le tue poesie, tra l’altro credo che in Italia non siano mai uscite tue poesie tradotte, ciao amico!

  9. […] via Channel swim — Lance Sheridan […]

  10. You are a poet of great visual artistry! I am enjoying reading you.

  11. Magnificent that last line ” I walk the plank of gratitude.” yes 💕 powerful

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