Each day, on Garrison Keillor’s brief daily NPR program, The Writer’s Almanac, he reads a poem. If you’re a regular listener, you may have heard the one I reprint below, about the first day of summer swim lessons for children.
I missed it this morning, but fortunately TI enthusiast Cynthia Ford, a law professor at University of Montana, sent me a link.
I reprint this in part because the second stanza is a lyrically beautiful description of the TI Superman drill. How ‘poetically’ could you describe any aspect of your swimming experience—not necessarily in rhyme or verse, but in a way that captures a spirit that others may not have considered.
The First Day
by Joseph Green
Saturday morning the pool fills
with children. Their parents
want them to learn something
preposterous: not just to tread water,
but to move through it as easily as they run
at home from one room to another. Naturally
the miracle of flotation escapes some of them;
however, the believers, buoyant in their faith,
hold their breath and push away from the side.
Face down, arms outstretched, these blessed ones
glide like angels in a fleeting state of grace,
then pop up grinning when they run out of air.
Splashed with success, they hug themselves
happily in the blue-lipped chill.
Meanwhile, the few still clinging to the wall
watch their own number shrink. Small, miserable,
suspicious of their parents for making them
suffer here, they begin to see the arrangement
of things: how easily everyone can turn
away from them when they don’t give in,
how lonely a personal conviction is.
Hear Garrison Keillor read this poem.
“The First Day” by Joseph Green from What Water Does at a Time Like This. © Moon Path Press, 2015. (buy now)