Pull and Repulse

We start off paddling in shallows,
uncertain of what is under our feet, but
bemoaning the lack of depth.

Then the sand ends in sadness, a void,
head under water, cursing
never learning to swim.

Somehow saved, we sit on the beach
drawn to death, mesmerised by the
pull and repulse of the waves.

Slowly we learn, study, copy
back-stroke, breast-stroke, or
just using our hands to stay afloat.

People pair off, swim strongly away,
suddenly gone, yet their strange happy
yelps echo over the horizon.

The laughter out there sometimes
bursts like fireworks, and sometimes it
fades faster than a tropical sun.

Some come back singly, shake their
wet hair, seek another swimmer
unbothered by the slow fat drips.

Others stalk up the beach to
hide in the trees, their run-off
making metaphors in the mud.

Emerging, chastened or just bored, the
lone ones see other singletons
silhouetted against a purpling sky.

Some have dry hair, some wet, all
wondering if its worth so much swimming,
pulled and repulsed by the waves.

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