by Tanya Southey   Apr 15, 2019

I followed the others
to the Women’s Baths
this place, exclusive
for women, to dip into
the ocean, to float in the
salt, the water that heals

I followed the others
all of us chatting about
the day that had us immersed
in the words and now
the water to wash the
thoughts, to cleanse,
to refresh

I thought “why a place for
Women’s only?”
I was confident, I was fine
on the beach for all humans
and then the water held me
safely, quietly, away from
the eyes that are trained to
not see me, to only see my flesh
the cursory evaluation of whether
I am worthy of any attention at all,
not for my soul, or my wit,
or my deep opinions on justice
or growth, but for how much flesh
sits on my chest,
not the weight of my wisdom
or the size of my solutions

And I realised I have been
trained to fear men
trained to keep myself safe
trained to stay in the light
when walking home in darkness
moulded for likeability
to stay out of harm’s way

And I floated in this water
of acceptance
in the water of myself
in the water with
the topless woman
who chose to swim
with a hat on

If air is thought
and water emotion
what is fog?

And how could I
use this merging
to change
the world?

© Tanya Southey

Note: This week's poem in the theme of "Elements" for April is "Water". Written about a memory of swimming in the Women's Only Sea Baths in Coogee after a day writing at a retreat.


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Latest Comments

  • 1 month ago

    by Paul Hirst

    Loved the poem
    Hated that it is a fact of life we seem to have to separate ourselves for all the wrong reasons

  • 1 month ago

    by Brenda

    Loved this Tanya, glad to see it nominated!

    • 1 month ago

      by Tanya Southey

      Thanks so much Brenda. Appreciate you taking the time to tell me x

    • 1 month ago

      by Tanya Southey

      Thanks so much Brenda. Appreciate you taking the time to tell me x

  • 2 months ago

    by Daniel

    This is excellent. I loved the reflective nature of this. Water is a great metaphor, and in a way, it’s unfortunate that these thoughts exist at all, that there will always be a fixation on flesh.

    • 1 month ago

      by Tanya Southey

      Thanks Daniel. It had not consciously crossed my mind until swimming in that pool.

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