Disabled Swimming

In the water,

Muscles still twitch and contract,

But propel me in a pleasing way,

Not clumsy and awkward,

Like on land.


I shriek and laugh,

I even sing,

And imagine myself,

Dancing and I am,

Happy.  Before,


Hoist hauls me back,

To my beached chair.

If this was your limit,

Would it be enough?

A snatched half-hour,

Of happiness?


Perpetual pain,

Momentarily lifted, provides,

Joy so perfect that,

The pain-free can never imagine,

And in those painless moments,

I am so alive, so beautiful,


That I almost welcome,

The pain when it returns because,

I know I will have this moment,

Again next week.

But you see only a cripple and a swimming pool,

You have no idea I pity you.



15 Responses to “Disabled Swimming”

  1. Thank you everybody for your lovely comments. I was unsure about sharing this. Now I’m glad I did. Thanks again.

  2. This is really, really good. We often don’t stop to question whether what we see is actually what somebody else is experiencing. Thank you for opening our eyes.

  3. Amazing – the close is just a powerful punch! Well done!

  4. I have a dear friend with MS and he says he only feels graceful and powerful when he is swimming. How can we feel the full brightness if we haven’t known the dark? Powerful lines, especially:
    Joy so perfect that,
    The pain-free can never imagine

  5. adamsmurphy Says:

    As i read each line, i felt like we were actually in the water together!

  6. You absolutely got into another’s “head” and in such a beautifully revealing way, very poetic, very touching; creating a bit of soul searching without in any way being preachy. Exceptional!

  7. Amazing work–powerful lines.

    If this was your limit,

    Would it be enough?

    A snatched half-hour,

    Of happiness?

    Very well done, these are my favorite lines.

  8. wow!!! The ending was such a twist that I was blown away by your whole entire poem. 🙂

    Bravo! my friend. 🙂

  9. Laurie Kolp Says:

    Swimming is such an all-around great exercise. I love to swim. I only wish he could do so more often.

  10. dang….nice…you dont know what you got til it is gone you know….i imagine those moments of freedom for the disabled and disadvantaged to be a beautiful thing…and these moments of respite….very evocative write…

  11. I love the strength of the voice in this piece! Nothing to pity about that!

  12. Strong piece, I could feel the happiness in the water.

  13. The only thing that made me sad (or feel pity) was that it’s only once a week. I love the spirit behind this. There is a power of mind that overtakes the limits of the body. As I age, I know this. My pain seems to disappear when I’m writing…do you notice this, too?

  14. I like the way you turned the piece at the end. >KB

  15. Oh that end wrapped it up with full force… and being pitied for what I fail to see. very strong

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