Esther Murbach – Blackrock Bathing

poet2Esther Murbach, born in the middle of the 20th century, grew up in Basel and is living in Basel and Galway. She studied languages, history and philosophy in Basel and Berlin. She is a journalist and translator writing German and English. Since 2008 she has been a freelance author, published four novels, one short story collection and one poetry collection in Switzerland. In Ireland her work has appeared in The Galway Review, The Galway Review Anthology, The Galway Advertiser and Crannóg.

Blackrock Bathing

Jutting into the sea
from Salthill Promenade
not really a rock
nor black
garnished with rusty railings
along slippery stairs
clad in a yellow coat of paint
which cannot hide
the chipped edges
of the concrete construction
nor keep it warm

For heat the mock rock relies on
the hearts and bodies of disciples
from The Order Of Shiver Climb Jump Swim
who love the massive tower
it is their shrine
where daily worship
of Máthair Muir occurs

She holds her arms out
in each wind and weather
offers clear ripples
on balmy days
“Come on, the water is lovely,
fifteen degrees at least!”
in winter luring
with white-topped waves
opaque and muddy
rocking and rolling
“Don’t be a chicken!
Who needs a diving suit?”

Pretty baby in neoprene
plummets feet-on
pinching her nose between fingers
portly patriarch
dives head-on
showing off thin bermudas
below the thick insulation
of his bulging belly

The next gale
with a fancy name
like Gertrud, Imogen, Jason
is smirking
around the corner
of the Galway Atlantaquaria
where on the parking area
many a car is secretly longing
for the chance of some bathing
of its own

Every now and again
the cars get lucky
when whooping waves
turn tarmac to bathtub
and make the Prom gargle
before it tucks in for the night




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