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Danger! No Swimming

A poem for Manchester Art Gallery


Lily of the water, Nymph thou art

Perfect buds rising from cold dark depths

Flower faeries with alabaster skin emerging

Waxen ivory clothing a golden heart


Show love! Watch over this foolish boy

Who would risk all amongst your beauty,

Careless haste for pleasure clouding wisdom

Your ancient roots may yet ensnare his joy



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dangerHylasNymphaeaceaeNymphsswimmingwater lilies


O, where roams your delicate soul

Does it yet travel the seas

                gliding afar with the Arctic tern

                or is its delight in quieter waters

                in dappled river pools or streams

Is it content to rest in the cool damp shade of the willow

watching minnows play

                diving among the nymphs

                and sacred lotus



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