The Atlantic swells towards Gaelic shores

Carrying legends of swims that have gone before.


I tell of an island as green as can be,

Rising like a turtle out of the sea;

Surrounded by rocks and crashing waves,

Pebbly beaches and secret caves;

Vertical cliffs where sea-birds nest

Battered and worn by gales from the West.

Amongst the gorse there are goats that graze,

Browsing on heather in the sea-spray haze.


Now, once a year, at the end of summer

Swimmers compete to out-do one-another.

In this most competitive of swims

The first round the island is the one that wins.

The water is choppy, the tide is high;

In they dive under a low, grey sky.

Swim-hatted and eager with a mighty lunge

Dozens of people take the plunge


Diving from the slip-way they start the race

The guys at the front set a cracking pace.

Athletic strokes and goggled-eyed,

Spurred on & rallied by seagulls’ cries.

Hazards below from all sorts of things:

Rocks that can gash and jellyfish stings.

In a bright orange RIB are the RNLI,

On hand just in case, & keeping an eye.


Eager spectators crowd the shore

Cheer for their friends with a deafening roar.

The first body emerges with shiny, pink skin.

Quite out of breath, but pleased with his win.

Atop their green and grassy knoll

The goats haven’t noticed anything at all.

A curious seal pokes his head out,

Wondering what all the fuss is about.


The tide is ebbing away from here:

‘Slán go fóill’, until next year.


About Alex Barton
This entry was posted in Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s