Saturday, 20 March 2010

Swimming in Capri

Here's a beautiful, descriptive poem by Anne Sexton from my newly purchased book, Splash, which I enthused about yesterday.

The Nude Swim

On the southwest side of Capri 
we found a little unknown grotto
where no people were and we
entered it completely
and let our bodies lose all
their loneliness.

All the fish in us
had escaped for a minute.
The real fish did not mind.
We did not disturb their personal life.
We calmly trailed over them
and under them, shedding
air bubbles, little white
balloons that drifted up
into the sun by the boat
where the Italian boatman slept
with his hat over his face.

Water so clear you could
read a book through it.
Water so buoyant you could
float on your elbow.
I lay on it as on a divan.
I lay on it just like Matisse's Red Odalisque.
Water was my strange flower.
One must picture a woman
without a toga or a scarf
on a couch as deep as a tomb.  

The walls of that grotto
were everycolor blue and 
you said, "Look! Your eyes
are seacolor. Look! Your eyes
are skycolor." And my eyes
shut down as if they were
suddenly ashamed.

Anne Sexton


  1. Yes, please, do let me know your favourites from Answering back, I have only read a few as I bought another little book called Short and Sweet, 101 very short poems edited by Simon Armitage, and got engrossed in that instead. I did like the Philip Larkin 'They fuck you up' response, made me smile.
    much love

  2. thanks for dropping by Martine! I'm leaving this comment here because I can't manage to post it on your blog - difficulty at word verification stage - no box to write letters if you know what I mean.
    I also like the poem you mention and how about these as well 7, 28, 30, 40, 41,(wendy cope is obviously a fan of molesworth from 'down with skool'!)42, 43, 91, 93, 95, 96, 119 sorry there's quite a lot!! x

  3. One must picture a woman
    without a toga or a scarf
    on a couch as deep as a tomb.

    I likes this bit.Anne Sexton is a poet I'm very curious about, but don't know yet.Must investigate!