Confidently I pull on my suit That tucks in my tum Smooths the lines While holding up my bum. This time I won't be beat By fears of drowning. I'll swim the length Smiling not frowning.
Into the water I step, Down the ladder and stand. Then my confidence seeps, til, I clutch the side with a shaking hand. I submerge my shoulders, not my hair And standing with hands just so, Take a deep breath and... Push off with one foot, one toe.
Fighting back the child inside, Who stood hiding in the shower While the teacher taught and mum thought I was perfecting breaststroke that hour!
In eight strokes I reach the line Beyond which my strength will go, Then breathless I'll flail and splash And sink into the depths below.
Drowning out the child within And parting the water, on I glide Til the deep end is reached and A childish grin spreads from deep inside.
In the middle of the rain soaked field Surrounded by hoof printed mud, Away from the bushes that shield Him from the storm clouds that scud, Stands a young foal; is he depressed? His tail made heavy with burr Is unable to flick the flies that infest His matted, mud splattered fur. His close cropped mane he once shook, Is now short and stubby down his head. Passers-by stop, tut and look Past him to swans waiting for bread. Neglected and forgotten, this young horse, Who is in plain sight but rarely seen, Knows no other life because He’s ignorant of pleasure and meadows green.
Out of bed before this January dawn I scattered food on the frost covered lawn. The stale crusts from week old bread And yesterday's dumplings, heavy as lead. Onto the table the last of the log, Chocolaty rich; no good for the dog. Pouring fresh water in the concrete bowl While in the house, stirred not a soul. A fat ball with seeds, the final touch. Standing back, I wondered if there was too much.
As the sky lightened to a milky grey I heard the visitors on their way. First to arrive were the great tits Flitting from the buddlehia for their favourite bits. Next came tits, coal, long tailed and blue To and from the bushes they flew. Suddenly these visitors all took fright For the resident blackbird claimed his birthright. With shiny black feathers and neat yellow beak, He came to the table and started to eat While his beady gold eye scanned the ground Ensuring no competitors were around. He didn't see the pert tailed wren Dart from the herbs and back again.
I stood at the window for a whole hour And counted the visitors as they devoured The party food and tasty bites, Magpies, sparrows and then to my delight There came a pigeon, grey and plump, Who landed gracefully on one foot and a stump. Scaring the others, who had flown, This war zone bird stood all alone.
For sixty minutes I had stood and numbered The birds in the garden, while others slumbered. Sixty minutes of peace and quiet While birds shared the feast without a riot. Sixty minutes of inner joy And inspiration from that tough old boy With one tired foot and one sore stump, Hopping, then slapping and finally a jump.