Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Outdoor Shower


Still no swimming - might I make it back to the water tomorrow? Who knows. Anyway, my writing's been on a roll, two poems nearly ready for submission, so that is good.
To keep the spirit of the swim alive, here is one of the Sharon Olds poems that I mention on the side of the blog. I love it. And my tour de force - the picture above - which I found on a bathroom fittings type website after scouring the internet. Perfect!


Outdoor Shower


Crusted with dried brack, dusted with
sand, shaking from the cold Atlantic,
hair gristled with crystals, tangled with the
jellied palps of wrack - just step on this
slatted rack, pull the iron
handle of the forged world toward you.
The sluice courses, down your shin,
in a swirling motion, milk smoke, the
silky rush of fresh water, supple and alkaline.
Lids clenched, you reach for the small
oil torso of soap, run it
along your limbs and whirl it over the points of the
three-point shower star of sex:
arm-pit, arm-pit, sex. Then the gritty
dial of your face, lather it, bring it
under the coursing, and open your mouth,
stone-sweet well-water,
and then the head,
delve it in so the sand around the scalp
dances like the ions at the edges of matter,
and the shampoo, mild soldier,
take her by the shoulders and pour the pale eel on your head. Then
      feel them going:
salp, chitin,diatom, dulse, the
blind ones of the ocean. Rinse until
it pours down your head like water, the dark
descendant pelf of the land. Now open your eyes -
green lawn, silver pond,
grey dune, blue Atlantic,
the simple fields of God, liquid and solid.
Turn and turn in hot water,
column of heat in the cool wind
and sunny air, squeeze your eyes and then
open them again - look, it is still there,
the world as heaven, your body at the edge of it.
Sharon Olds


from Blood, Tin, Straw, Knopf.

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