THE FROGMORE POETRY PRIZE 2010

Melinda Lovell

RIVER, LAKE, SEA

When eighty years had gnarled her hands and feet
she came to stay. A steaming June
she walked through the tender trees to the lake

She slipped out of her dress at the water’s edge
and invisible to the younger crowd
began to swim with steady strokes

She swam as though alone, keeled in her past,
feeling her limbs loose and light
as in her river childhood

and then, after the dip, dress back on,
hand-swung her underwear dry
as she stepped into the leafiness

She would have swum as a child with her brother Peter
playing by the dangerous weir
yet no harm came to them then

No sooner grown, his athlete’s body
was strewn on the waves at Dieppe. Shot.
She prefers river or lake to sea

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