Poetry / stories / Uncategorized

Swan Dive, 1974

When she did that swan dive

off the high board

I swear, the freaking world stopped.

Walking along the side of the pool,

fresh faced, platinum hair,

I was lost in waves of awe and hate –

envy, rather.

The water nymph and I

could never be friends

mainly it was over

a certain boy

who played well at sports

and other things too.

That summer,

my jealousy burned

like the sun rays

hitting that crystal blue water.

She had logged hours

getting that golden skin

practicing diving

while I was lost

in the pages of books

peering through library stacks

traveling those rows of untold stories

skipping to other worlds.

The stroll to the board

even the lifeguard was mesmerized –

nobody better drown now

the gaping stares

of even the little kids

in the shallow end

the smell of chlorine

sprinkling the heat of

a summer day.

Floating up the ladder

and she was perched

there on the edge of

the high dive.

The spring jump

culminated into a perfect arc

her hair fluttering behind her

hitting the water as neatly

as a pin point

without sound

all air

and beautiful blonde hair.


44 thoughts on “Swan Dive, 1974

  1. Can we skip my usual bleat about not knowing the song, I think we know I’ve been residing in a monastery these last 70 years or so….
    No, let’s get to my usual beat about just how great this piece of writing is. I noticed the lifeguard too and the ice cream seller nearby pouring his 100s and 1000s all over his hand in open mouthed abandon. That you took me from the cold, drab, February feeling of northern England to that poolside 43 years ago is one superb feat of word alignment, LT. Every week you provide me with a new favourite poem. Just brilliant! 🙂

    • Phil, you are so going to become a fan of Natalie Merchant’s music, I would just bet on it :-D. Well, that’s a pretty cool compliment, I thought a flashback to a hot summer day might help the winter doldrums. There is no pressure there for future weeks, right? Thanks so much, Phil!

  2. Perfectly captured, Lana. This slo-mo moment, the burn of envy, everyone in awe, even the lifeguard’s eyes aimed where they shouldn’t be… Like the cousin who played the piano so beautifully and never flubbed up a note, or the friend whose form was so perfect as she turned cartwheels or round-offs and landed without a misstep. Perhaps now, they are jealous of the poetry we write? I can hope. 🙂

    • Oh Joan, those are all great comparisons, and to have deal with these types of accomplishments by peers as a teenager is rather daunting. People do, have their strengths and talents and all excel at different things. Perhaps indeed, they might be jealous of the ones now who take up the pen and try to capture the poetry of life as it unfurls. I like the thought 😀

  3. Oh, wow, just proves we all don’t get here the same, do we, Lana? And wouldn’t it be horrid if we were all alike?? (Though I imagine most teenaged girls — and some boys, as well — would wish for more of the kind of attention a “water nymph” like this attracts!!)

    • That’s right, Debbie. We surely are all different, and we should remember to celebrate those differences, but as teenagers, we surely aren’t mature enough to embrace that yet. I suppose I will always remember that day, ha ha.

  4. Wonderful poem, Lana capturing the teenage physical attraction of the female diver, her beauty shining forth in the otherwise stifling claustrophobic summer heat. Not often a poem is written in the first person and it works so well here, the reader right there and the colloquialisms adding extra texture and colour.

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