About the poet
Clive Wilmer's first collection of poems, The Dwelling-Place (Carcanet, 1977), opens with an...
The old men at the swimming pool
The old men at the swimming-pool were tanned
Even in winter. They were fit and strong.
Each morning early they would sprint along
The hundred yards of poolside, stretch and bend,
Do press-ups, then dive in at the deep end.
Their skin was like cracked leather; it was slung
Roughly across their bones, their muscles strung
In loose alliance, waiting to disband.
Or so it seems in retrospect. I’m told
That one bleak New Year’s morning with no moon,
When boys like me were sleeping, the old men
Cracked a stiff film of ice across the bath,
Then lined up at the edge to plunge beneath
Into the darkness and the silent cold.
first published here, © Clive Wilmer 2016, used by permission of the author
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