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Poetry Friday -- The Swim

This weekend, my aunt and cousins and extended family will celebrate
 the memory of my beloved Uncle Joe.
And they'll do it by swimming the length of our lake, in Wisconsin.
Because that's what he used to do, summer mornings.

He'd swim from his cottage to my grandparents', at the other end of lake.
And there he'd have breakfast with them.

The swim has become tradition these last few years since he's been gone.
I ache to be there in the water, but instead I'm hear thinking about it and thinking about him.


The Swim

     -- remembering Joe


In the early morning

a slap of fish

on the surface

of the lake

and our uncle

his clean dive

and breathy reach

less a slap than a slip

unhurried and quiet

into another day


while we sleep

most of us


and mindless

that these moments

with duck and carp

and the sun rising

like a warm nest

and the lake

waiting for first flight

that these moments

are ones that we’d long for


until we swim


the whole lake


that broad reach

of water

one morning broken

by a hundred hands

or so

each stroke

away from shore

a little easier



 E.G.S., 2007




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This is so lovely, Liz -- and a wonderful family tradition for remembering Uncle Joe.

The lake

The across the lake swim for a kid seems so unfathomable. All that way??? Without a boat or a board to rest on?

And then, there comes the day, when the challenge is heard from one's own head or from a nearby cousin - and they're off! Swimming in the ghost strokes of all the kin before.

Beautiful Liz. I feel it!


Oh, Liz. That's a beautiful tribute. Hugs to you.

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Tanita Says :)

Oh, this is so beautiful. And the unborn sensation of being underwater, the effortless sense of possibility that comes from having no place where your body ends and the body in which it is absorbed -- no line between the two, but the ability to move and rest and hang suspended in time and place -- that is a tribute to life itself, as well as a tribute to the life of a man who lived it well. Lovely.


Such a beautiful moment. And what a perfect tribute. Thanks for sharing-- and for joining the Poetry Friday gathering. Always lovely to connect!

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