Trammeled Swimmer

by WILLIAM ROSE BENÉT
SLEEK from silk water the angled arm. The sun
Shook crinkling sequins. Slipping ripples burned.
With thew and heart and blood and thought as one
His body turned.
He twisted on his back, and at the noon
Thrashed sun-browned feet; then lay, and let the bound
Of blue absorb him, like the faint day-moon
A perfect round.
Floating infinity, for now the blue
Was cloudless, he was lifted to a height
No rock, no shore, no sea-horizon knew.
He lived in light.
A Knowing, profound; from all life’s friction free;
Higher than flyer; aloft, alone, elate;
One with all infinite possibility;
Disjoined from fate,
And reaching almost . . . seeming about to reach . . .
He twisted prone; arm flashed and body sped. “What were you swimming?” his friend asked, at the beach.
“The crawl,” he said.