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Anyone who willingly walks into freezing cold water will understand the plight of sea swimming through an Irish winter. It’s a love hate relationship that blossoms the moment you make the decision to see what all the fuss is about. From the weekend warriors, to those who see it as their daily ritual- every sea swimmer knows that the worst part is just before you get in. I wrote this poem on a day where the weather was terrible: with a wind that could cut through steel and leave the teeth rattling in your skull.
I felt a great deal of resistance, but after a quick word with myself, persisted onwards. If you can make it through those first two minutes then you’re in the clear- the body relaxes, and you’re overcome with a sense of calm. Overall, my intention for this poem was to shine a brief light on something that I and many others love to do regularly. An activity that some people may consider just a little bit mad.

Sea Swimming Through the Irish Winter

I sit in the car
And don’t want to leave
For here it is warm and cosy

I sit by the shore
And don’t want to stand
For these clothes are warm and cosy

My feet get it first
The licking of flames
The cold penetrates to the bone,
But after a minute or so
Of panting, breathing and blowing
The body relaxes
And the mind becomes still

Taking a look back to shore
I understand
And hold a sense of sympathy
For those left on land
Those forever warm and cosy.

Leon Dunne | Poet | Ireland.

Follow Leon’s work here¬†

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