Pondskater by Christina Buckton



Christina Buckton lives near Cambridge. She has been writing and reading all her life but has only recently started to explore poetry in her eighties. She was an On the Buses winner at Guernsey International Poetry competition in 2019 and 2020, and has poems published in various magazines including The North and Orbis. She has worked at the BBC, as an education consultant and therapeutic mentor.






























Seventy years ago

I nearly

                                    drowned here.


Stooping now

under dark branches

above the uncertain surface,

its floating cloth of weed

drilled with raindrops from a sodden sky


my eye keeps

                                                sliding below the water, slipping

into that self

                                    who drowned/

didn’t drown


that day the log rolled over with me on it,

shrugged me off into

unkind river arms –

– the way its swaying glassy forest beckoned me in –

 it was all mist, mouth

drooling water, spit spilling through my sleeves


I was shivered into stillness into

a muffled smothering of scum


How did I not drown? How am I not drowned? 


The river gathers images

for my present eye:

a pondskater on the thin skin

somewhere between sky and deep

between here and gone.


Christina Buckton