Seren Poetry Festival – Wild Swimming

I’m delighted to be contributing alongside some great poets and swimming enthusiasts, Polly Atkin, Katrina Naomi and Elizabeth-Jane Burnett in this session celebrating swimming and writing. I don’t think both can be done at once but I’m open to persuasion!

I enjoy writing about the sea and especially about being in it. It is an intensely physical experience and I often think of it in terms of an encounter with power.

2021: Event 13

Swimming at Dunluce at sunset

Here’s the opening of a poem I wrote about looking back on memorable moments in a year as it ends: (pubished in The Bangor Literary Journal)

Estuary swimming at Newport, Pembrokeshire


for Gill and Alan


I would like my grave to be

marked not by a stone but glass:

a sturdy panel, windowing my life

in a mosaic of seeing / seeing-through.


Here, in a piece of most particular āˆ’ almost royal ā€“ blue,

won’t you remember

how, from a height,

we watched the unhurried, strategizing sea

re-take the estuary plain,

spreading in ever-widening fans

a rippled, supple mirror for the cloudless sky

and how we plunged

to stride out to its quick

where water, headlands, seal-black cliffs

and sunlight sang on one note?

We knew our luck, that day….

Swimming near Ballintoy