Almanac (Swimming) Poetry: The Slow Lane






The Slow Lane



Does it come to all of us one day?
The slow, unstoppable shift to the outside lane
The condescending smiles of the fit and the fast
Sauntering past markers of ambition and decay
Public proclamations of pace and Time
Slow, Medium, Fast, Squad


As fish we come from many schools
The young seeking redemption for last night
The unfit driven by elusive dreams of renaissance
The newcomers afraid of being duttoned back to sea
The ageing swimmers for whom the pool is suddenly much longer
Squad, Fast, Medium, Slow


But we care for each other and we belong
There is nowhere else to go, we are at the edge
We are a chlorinated Dad’s Army
Unable to march in time and clumsy on the turns
Yet forgiving of each other’s frailties
And proud to have joined the ranks


By and large it’s a democratic channel
Civility predicted by ineptitude but genuine all the same
Rights of passage afforded to the slightly faster
Accommodations made for the expecting paddlers
Kick boards tolerated through slightly steamy goggles
Flippers viewed by some as unseemly ambition


Friendships grow over time
Nervous banter as we slide into the pool
Cheery waves to let others pass
Compliments on the new Speedos
Friday and Monday footy talk, of course
And concern for those absent without leave


As it turns out it is a happy fate
Slow rules




Read more from Campbell Bairstow HERE



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  1. Colin Ritchie says

    How true Campbell, I identify myself strongly with the chlorinated Dad’s Army! We’re one of a kind.

  2. Well said, Campbell.
    Your words could be applied to other sporting pursuits also,
    like the cricketer (e.g. myself) who drops down the grades as time marches on.

  3. Campbell Bairstow says

    Cheers Colin and Smokie – and thanks for such a stirring and insightful lunch on Friday, Smokie. Good to see JTH in town as well.

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