4/2/09

The Luckiest People in the Pool by Sidney Hall, Jr.


The Luckiest People in the Pool

The pool is full, almost overflowing,
awash with bouncing bodies, the hairy arms
of fathers pitching green beach balls
to their sons, who rise up, dolphin-perfect,
and sink with the green in their arms;
bare-shouldered mothers with black hair
holding twin daughters who laugh at the
yellow floats around their arms.

But someone has silently entered the pool,
one mother and father carrying a son
whose legs are limp and face is frozen.
They brought him in a wheelchair and
carried him into the pool, and his shrieks
fill the wet air with something strange.
It is not clear whether they are shrieks of pain
or shrieks of laughter, but the father and the
mother stare at him in rapt delight, as though
there were no other thing in the world.
They stay and stay and they look at no one
but that boy, and both their faces beam.

An old man in a beach chair near the pool
has been watching. He sees the father
lift his son to lay him on a float,
a chore that could make a man feel sorry
for his lot, but the man lays his son down
so sweetly and so carefully and so full
of a love that no one can ever understand,
that the old man feels a tear run down his face,
and he speaks to himself, no one to hear, how
strange is truth, how big the world, how is it
that he sees, like a whale who sees a headland,
that those are the luckiest people in the pool?

Sidney Hall Jr. is a poet and publisher who grew up and still lives in Brookline, NH. He is the owner of Hobblebush Books, an independent publisher of literary, regional and humor books. Hall's poetry has been published widely in journals and anthologies. His book reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. He is the author of a collection of newspaper columns, Small Town Tales, about growing up in rural New Hampshire in the 50s and 60s. He is also the author of 3 books of poems, What We Will Give Each Other, Chebeague and Fumbling in the Light. Two poems from Fumbling in the Light were recently read by Garrison Keillor on NPR's Writer's Almanac. Hall was also recently nominated for a Pushcart Award.

The poem, "The Luckiest People in the Pool" was inspired by visiting the Hampshire Hills swimming pool one day, in Milford, NH. It is previously unpublished.

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Poem and cover image are used here with the permission of the poet, all rights reserved.

5 comments:

Glenn said...

Very nice. It brings a blurry world into focus.

KURIOUS KITTY said...

A lovely poem, thank you.

It brought to mind a scene from my childhood where my father's quiet actions at the beach taught me an unintended lesson that 50 years later I still hold dear.

jan said...

So, I only experience that sweet expansive ache in my chest when I, like the old man, know "how strange is truth". May we all know how lucky we are. thanks, Sid. ahjan

Anonymous said...

Beautiful poem--the seen (the scene) against the unseen-therein lies the mystery--of love, of beauty

alice fogel said...

Congratulations for getting to see and put into a poem that moment.