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Last Swim at Sheep Pond
Carol Amato


Some old women swim through
They walk right in without
stopping to let one body part
or another get used to the chill††††††††††
Their strokes are sure and steady
across the pondís mirrored
No flailing of arms on shore
to warm up
they face the sun and slowly
towel dry.
They come here often,
weather permitting,
until one bitter day signals
the last swim.
Before the deep freeze,
the Great Blue Heron,
knee-deep in the still-life water,††††††††††
will watch and decide, too,
without perceptible movement.

This poem first appeared in Avocet, A Journal of Nature Poetry.
Used here with permission.

Carol Amato says poetry has allowed her to assume many lives—to date, a much-longed-for job as a waitress, a slightly mean-spirited child, an escape artist seeking to find herself, an adventurer soaring with raptors, and more. Carol’s realities include being a language-learning specialist, a natural science educator, and the author of 11 books for Barron’s Educational Series and Backyard Pets, Nature Activities Close to Home, published by John Wiley & Sons. Carol, who lives in Boston and Cape Cod, considers herself fortunate to have both an active imagination and enough reality to survive.


Post New Comment:
Vividly descriptive, well-written
Posted 10/30/2019 11:03 AM
Wow! Outstanding picture this poem creates. I admire the work but the scene just makes me cold! It takes me 5 - 10 minute to get into an 82 degree pool!
Posted 10/27/2019 04:04 PM
what a strong poem--the older swimmers contain the grace and beauty of a heron. Undaunted by the cooler weather, they are one with their surroundings.
Posted 10/26/2019 10:32 PM
This is lovely; the dignity of a woman who has reached a wise age echoed but the majesty of the heron, both oozing sophistication. Just like the heron, such women are constant and will eternally be a part of nature and humanity alike. Despite the emphasis on the age of these women, it is the culmination of experience in life which leads to this feeling of timelessness, and being untouchable, which is what i feel is being celebrated here, for this is autumn, not winter.
Posted 10/26/2019 09:53 PM
Mal F Robertshaw:
Oh I love the imagery of this and how intrinsically autumnal it is without relying on the usual features of autumn but more the shift in the weather as the days get colder, which allows the poem to mirror that change as it finishes
Posted 10/26/2019 10:24 AM
michael escoubas:
Nice going Carol. I echo Larry's sentiment.
Posted 10/26/2019 08:57 AM
Larry Schug:
In my opinion, one of YDP's finest of the year. The last five lines provide food for contemplation.
Posted 10/26/2019 07:29 AM

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