I am writing this just before I go for a swim at the Lido on what is turning out to be a scorcher! Its almost like eating an aperitif before the main doing this blog, just a little taste before I go and submerse myself in the Lido’s bountifulness.
A couple of weeks back, myself, the other four poets and three of the regulars that are as mad about the Lido as me recorded some of the poems that have been created as part of the residency. We did this at the Chime recording studio which is run by Beat This who I have collaborated with before on my bus residency last year. It was great fun and the regulars who don’t consider themselves poets at all, read their poem with a sensitivity and knowing that was fresh and gave the work newness. That’s why I love working with ‘non-poets’ which I know is a weird word and weird sentiment. Its like opening up a treasure chest of possibilities that a poetry voice can often not achieve. A massive thanks to Clare and Sue for taking part as well.
I will be releasing the full soundscape next week and it will be featured as part of the Wet Sounds event on the 28th of August, get tickets here: Wet Sounds tickets There will be live performances and a workshop with me too, plus lots of shenanigans. Please do not miss it.
I will also be putting the soundcape on this blog and I hope it will be played over the tannoy at the Lido in the last week, so watch out for that.
Here is my final poem of the season and its about the regulars that swim every day of every season and love the Lido as though it was part of their families. Below is a picture of Richard Ferris on the right who recorded the poem for me and Dave… aka the Bretton Bream who is mentioned in the poem. Viva la regulars!!
Fair-weather swimmer is a son of a gun insult from them.
The temperatures can be sweet hot and North Sea cold.
They admire salmon for they too have the compulsion.
To swim in waters that might be struck with lightning.
As if they spoke in Dolphin, they know each other’s place.
Every regular has to jostle for the right lane to be in-
The dressing room only they use, the favoured locker.
They use sonar to navigate, to detect any possible offence.
It’s routine for them to notice the growing lavender.
To pass lengths unspoken on benches, their minds off swimming.
To bestow classic nicknames to one another like Bretton Bream-
To drink coffee, heating their bodies that have travelled a mile or more.
Like parents of the pool, they are there at the start of the season.
The lifeguards that protect the fickle others on hot spells are
Rewarded by the regulars with chocolate tins on the last date in September-
And chats between somersaults to kill the boredom of an overcast day.
The water can be seen clapping at these humans who care for one another.
Waves can be heard singing happy birthday along with this pod of nurture-
Who give cards to say you are part of this hover of mortals.
The H20 is grateful that it is the reason for their acts of friendship.
When the year ends these migrating meteorites of souls disappear-
Back to Autumn’s salty short days and Winter spawning frosts.
Its sad when a regular passes away in the gap, never to swim again.
Some say if only they could have hung on till May.
Those who return, create home by taking a village through their hearts into the Lido.
Its their laughter that keeps the water warm and the pool from being ever empty.
It’s not the season ticket which shows their devotion but their smiling encouragement
And asking new swimmers how has their day been? Welcoming them in.
By Keely Mills.
August 8th 2016