Swimming with Seals
by Gillian Clarke
Q Did you really swim with seals?
A Yes. It’s quite common in west Wales to find seals or dolphins swimming in the sea quite close to people.
Q Why are there two horizons?
A One is the real one, where the sea meets the sky. The other is the one you see when you’re swimming, where the surface of the sea meets the submarine world. If you duck your head you see that other world.
Q What are the stars and shoals?
A Starfish, little shoals of fish and seaweed, like a garden.
Q Why do you say the elderly bask at the edge of what they’ve lost?
A People who never get out of their cars, but just look at the sea through the car windscreen, or binoculars, have forgotten what they’re missing.
Q When you say ‘she’s gone’, who are you talking about?
A The seal.
Q Why do you say ‘all earth’s weight’ is beneath the old?
A Gravity, the pull of the earth. Children seem light footed, denying gravity, but old people seem to be pulled down towards the earth.
Q What do you mean by ‘rolling in amnion’?
A Amnion is the amniotic fluid, or waters of the womb. The seals is pregnant. Her calf, or pup, will be born in autumn. We are swimming, diving under the water to look at the submarine world. We are swimming underwater like the seal pup in the womb.