Open-Air Swimming Pool, Dug by Students, 1929-30
Shovels stroke on
Liam Tancock doesn’t know
the rolled-up sleeves of spadework,
the wool coats’ collars in mist
against a backwash of trees.
Before the water, volunteers,
had tea for digging,
the benches framing the edge and raising
a wind turbine.
His team never saw the detail of plans
hand-drawn: the fencing,
after the excavation,
down sweat lines.
The gala of dolphins:
against pitch ribs.
as they breast the avenue of careful poplars.
Now the coach sees information
streaming: his racer’s places moulded.
The solar light,
the second’s heat, the hour’s crawl, the call
down each sweet lane.
The dolphins wait in the car park
for a long-exposure photo,
a medal, in July.
The door of a changing-room slams in the wind.