A number of swimmers I know compose verse, or haiku while swimming, or about swimming, the water and whatever comes to mind that is water related. This section honours some of them, while also showcasing some eminent poets who have written of the water. Christina Rossetti's 'Ferry me across the Water' is in memoriam Caroline Harris

Rachel Toll

Three good friends went for a swim

The one who was fat wished she was thin

The one she was curvy wishes she was clever

The one who was clever wishes she swam better

All three friends thought the other two fine

If only they could let their own bright light shine

So throw on your swimsuit if you're fat or you're thin

Enjoy fun and friendship, enjoy the skin that you're in

Eeva Kilpi

Finnish writer and poet

Nukkumaan käydessä ajattelen:
Huomenna minä lämmitän saunan,
pidän itseäni hyvänä,
kävelytän, uitan, pesen,
kutsun itseni iltateelle,
puhuttelen ystävällisesti ja ihaillen,
kehun: Sinä pieni urhea nainen,
minä luotan sinuun.

As I'm going to bed I think:
Tomorrow, I'll heat up the sauna,
I'll treat myself kindly, I'll
take myself for a walk, a swim, I'll wash myself,
invite myself for evening tea,
I'll address myself fondly, with admiration,
I'll praise myself: You little, courageous woman,
I trust you

Jeremy Wellingham

Chief Dodo and Oxfordshire open water swimmer

sunrise solstice dip

goose beach on far side of isle

devil casts his quoits

flower moon ladder

shines on lake – swim at sunset

cygnets re-united


dark michaelmas swim
raison d'etre birthday cake

lit spire between the trees

 high tide, high summer

orange floats swept to kew

run red – name taken


flag claims territory

european picnic food

dappled lakeside shade

Lina Tengblad, Marielle Sjoren,

Anna Carin Olsen

100dagarkallabad, Gothenberg, Sweden


Bada bada bada, Varje dag

Bada bada bada, Varje dag

Bada Ja, Bada Ja

Bada bada bada, Varje dag!

Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day

Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day

Swimming Yes, Swimming Yes

Swimming, swimming, swimming, every day!

Joline Gordon

Poet, California 


It is an ocean
And it is mine
Somewhere in its depth lies my beginning
A love that has no end
For this I must swim

Through the darkness of the waters
A light shines through
The beginning of something beautiful
But then it disappears
I feel alone and lost
But I keep swimming

It's been a lifetime of comes and goes
It slowly fades or vanishes suddenly
Or it was never really there at all
I could drown in the hurt
But I keep swimming

It is always different yet the same
Always beautiful
Same falling, same love, same end
Always an end
But with an end will come a beginning
One day I'll find my beginning with no end
So I just keep swimming

Helen Edwards

Dodo and Oxford open water swimmer, swimming everyday in open water now for more than four years

Can you hear the stirrings of spring

Under this sheltering sky

In the icy cold waters

And the clearing of the air

Living in my own skin

Lodging in this beautiful world

The exquisite time of the setting sun
Opening the space between sky and ground
So life is even more than before
Port Meadow


Rising dark of sky

Dust of sun in air's memory

Birdsong like honey


Halcyon Days
Go gently
As Solstice approaches
To return the light


Peace, joy and happiness to all
The sound of thousands of wings
Belonging together
Opening to nature
Otmoor, Oxford

Missing the Thames
As my water journeying unfolds
In Indonesia.....

Spring emerging on the river bank
Growing in colours and compassion
Every year reminding us
We are not separate from nature

Magnolia flower,

Last one to bloom, delicate,

The future assured


Last swim of the year

With Dames and Olympians

Darling Serpentine

"Bloody cold in there!!"

Sunny Serpentine swimming

Also lost dog found!!


Serpentine swim with

Swans, perfect temp, rewarded,

Spicy cheese flapjacks

Nippy Dippers in

The Serpentine today, sun's

Golden rays shining


Sixty-Five swims, all

New seas, pools, lakes and rivers

Stanley's doing LXVs


I was hoping to

Swim tomorrow conference

Beckons, no swimming

Mike Harris

Serpentine Swimming Club

and year-round outdoor swimmer

The Serpentine Pond

Is missing its swimmers but

Soon we will be back


Where's the Ice Machine?

We need a cool place to swim

With floating sauna

Brisk misty morning,

Serpentine Swims invigorate

Salmon pink torsos

Damp December Morn

Serpentine beckons

so does The changing room

Hawaii Five O

Waiting for Sheila, cool clear

Water swim today


Swimming under the

Sun and the Moon,

delighted By the Serpentine


Christina Rossetti

Poet, 1830 - 94

Ferry me across the water


Ferry me across the water
Do boatman do
If you've got a penny in your purse
I will ferry you

I have a penny in my purse

and my eyes are blue
So ferry me across the water
Do boatman do


Step into my ferry boat

Be they black or blue

And for the penny in your purse

I will ferry you

By the water

There are rivers lapsing down
Lily-laden to the sea;
Every lily is a boat
For bees, one, two, or three:
I wish there were a fairy boat
For you, my friend, and me.

We would rock upon the river,
Scarcely floating by;
Rocking rocking like the lilies,
You, my friend, and I;
Rocking like the stately lilies
Beneath the statelier sky.

But ah, where is that river
Whose hyacinth banks descend
Down to the sweeter lilies,
Till soft their shadows blend
Into a watery twilight?—
And ah, where is my friend?