Another poem, this time about a Kayaking race I did today, in support of AccessibleBoating, which does fantastic work helping to introduce disabled or handicapped people to the world of boating. I was racing to keep my gold from last year, so this was a pretty tough challenge. Here’s my thoughts…
The water laps gently,
As I begin, with eight miles left.
Paddle in, paddle out, twist and repeat.
I have found my rhythm.
Then round a corner –
Why must there be swans?
I must stop – wingéd danger is gliding towards me.
And then he turns and I am off.
I am off and the prow comes out of the wave, lifts,
And I am flying, skimming across the surface,
Sheer savage joy at the freedom of the river –
I am making good time – very good time;
Ten minutes gone and only seven miles left.
Eventually, after losing myself in imagination as I always do during a race,
I realise that I am perhaps four minutes ahead of the next person.
The three-mile mark!
And then back around for the next leg.
But I can see the phantom now, as the mirage of pain grows in my shoulders –
I had not expected this at only half way.
Half way, with all that entails – perhaps a rest?
But I must be nearly done for the six.
One hour ten – the goings good.
But now I really am in pain,
My shoulders aflame and my neck torn to shreds,
With one mile to go I get a “keep going” from the warden –
What the hell does he know?
He isn’t racing; He isn’t even on the water!
Sitting there with his tea like some English country gentleman,
How I wish to slap it from his hand.
And then, with five hundred metres to go I begin to sprint,
Stars pop before my eyes as the pain reaches new peaks,
The water surges,
And then I am done.
Oh, blesséd relief!
I just hope I have done enough.