The Swimmer (Toowoon Bay, NSW)

lifesavers-toowoon bay

The old guy
with the hip
that’s out
the turned leg
yellow swimcap,
black thermal sock
on his off foot
otherwise long lean
leans on his friend,
heavy hand
on shoulder
rocks to the side
tilts and back
each step
incremental
concrete path
margin of thin lawn
yellowed by the salt
down the dry
soft sand
offers no purchase
sinks their feet
– his and his mate’s –
this one step
& again – every
concentration
pushing
the limb was once
that’s now just
dumb meat
takes an age –

(again) the surfer falls
off a 6-inch wave
& everyone laughs
the first of the seabreeze
in the top of the pines
a troupe of gallahs
stripping the shoots
uppermost sweet
a kelpie
runs the ball
rolls, rubs her rump
in the sand
kicking
the winter sunshine
coffee orders
tradies’ bacon
sauce breakfast
while waiting
a swell on the point
the first time in weeks
get amongst that
if it builds
knock-off early,
the dog puts
the birds up
and they flash
bellies pink
raucous
over the bay

all this
but now they’re
on the damp sand
& his back
is straighter
says an old joke,
his friend laughs
but the swimmer
eyes already
the water
waiting
release.


Image: detail, R & R Team (Toowoon Bay SLSC?) c. 1960s at MacMasters Beach NSW, photograph by Mick Bailey. And here’s Vance Joy with Riptide

2 thoughts on “The Swimmer (Toowoon Bay, NSW)

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