Swimming before the May

Beth McDonough

We heed their banter in winds
though we cover our ears.
Ready to shark our flesh then
flense to clenched bare bones.
Swirled in the rip
they whip up waves.
We enter aware
who lords this water and air.

There are whirligig gods in here.
Take care. Take care.

Beth McDonough

Beth McDonough has a background in Silversmithing and teaching, completing her M.Litt at Dundee University. Recently Writer in Residence at Dundee Contemporary Arts, she reviews for DURA.

Her work is strongly connected to place, particularly to the Tay, where she swims. Handfast, (with Ruth Aylett, Mother's Milk, May 2016) explores both autism and dementia.

Swimming before the May was first published in Ink, Sweat and Tears on 24th September 2015; Beth says: "I wrote this poem in response to the feelings and sounds which accompanied me on my walk down the beach to my first swim in the Tay that year. The sounds were intensified by my much-needed swimming cap, and it was a time of anticipation, of both joy and terror. I have no idea where those strange deities came from, but certainly, I became aware of them on the shore that day."

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Swimming before the May © 2017 by Beth McDonough: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.