Today I swam with a shoal of fish

along an English shore.

I paid no attention to the fishermen in their tiny tents

escaping who knows what

or maybe just content to gaze out to sea.

I arrived at dawn across the tiny, glistening circles of crunching stone

and sighed sadly to see the silver


scattering the shoreline,

offering themselves as mirrors to the rising sun

and breakfast for the gulls.

Fixing my googles,

my pony tail gets caught,


I paddle at the edge and puzzle at the dark cloud a meter from the shore.

The sea is cold,

my shins shiver

I don’t understand what is shading the shingle

when the sky is clear.

Before I am ready my body has ducked me down under the waves

and flashing dashes of silver,

commuters in the rush hour swell,

make me blink and surface gasping,

only to descend time and time again

in awe.

I swim alongside

this vast wall of fin and quiver,

the water is thick with movement,

the light shifts around them,

they tolerate my gawking human clumsiness

and flicker and dart on their journey west.

I swim with them until I feel cold

and then swim some more,

I do not want to let them go

but my fins are weaker,

my skin lacks their iridescent scales.

I take my leave in gratitude and

shake to the shore.

where I see the surface shiver

with silver life

teaming through the water



as one giant body of individuals



cells in a single

magnificent organism.

I dried in the warming sun

and wondered at the gift of it,

the joy of being allowed to journey alongside such a marvel

if only for a short while.


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