Sacred Lake

Contributor: Clare Currie
Type: Text
Location: Alwalton
Recorded: 27/08/18

I'm contributing a poem to the archive. Inspiration came through a merging of my experiences of swimming in the Nene and thinking about one of my literary heroines - Lucy Honeychurch ("A Room With A View", E.M. Forster) her story and experiences of wild swimming.

The poem was inspired by a part of the Nene that forms a natural pool at Alwalton, and the walk leading to it from Mill Lane in Castor. One of my most special memories of the Nene is a recent hot day when the entire family and extended family swam at Alwalton, with the children and some adults swinging from ropes into the pool.

I love the walk from Mill Lane to Alwalton alongside the river. I especially enjoy spotting water birds and taking in the different textures and colours of the reeds and other waterside plants.

Sacred Lake
for Lucy Honeychurch and wild swimming

When you were asked if you used to swim there, you said,
'I bathed here too, 'til I was found out...' as if
untamed water was no place for a female, as though
nakedness wasn't a woman's uniform, they'd impose
until you were packaged with string and given over
to a man who couldn't feel water, didn't want to -

an ivory box

Afterwards you'd learn to swim with and against it, shedding
boxes, paintings and buttons, floating a
line between naked and free, lying and
undoing the lying, un-painting
your gilded and cheek-chiselled mask, letting the
current move you to admission, as it does to me now

as I float on the Nene

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