Cold Water

By Boudica Gast


I wrote a poem the other day on the occasion of me and my friend sitting hungover like a pair of idiots on the pavement in the rain. Elliott was just in front of us, yet we didn’t get up and find shelter there. We stayed just where we were, cold and wet. What did Elliott have to offer anyway besides the chatter of people whose chatter we really did not want to listen to at that moment? The chilly rain seemed to give us something more rewarding.

I decided that the poem needed some pictures to accompany it, and thought the frigid and blustering Zeeland beach would be best. It was the only place I knew where I could easily find a massive body of cold water to fit the poem’s title. Zo gezegd, zo gedaan, as the Dutch say: one afternoon in November I cycled to Dishoek beach on my own and took these photos.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the pictures and the poem.


Cold Water


I need a drizzle and a sea to scrub me clean

Static lake and running river

All the water in all the world

Against all the noise of all the world

Just a little drop of silence

In all the noise of all the world


The cold water was refreshing

It scraped my skin

It bit my bones

It pulled my skin from my bones

Like a butcher

Like a child on their birthday


The wrapping papers off a gift

To reveal something much more exciting underneath


The cold water washed the dirt away

Yesterday’s grime

Last week’s truckload of nonsense

This morning’s thoughts and misconceptions

That clung

Like ivy

To the bricks of my body

Concrete wall, and solid stone


Human beings cannot breathe underwater.

Ergo, I did not breathe underwater.


And it made the world stand still

For just as long as I held my breath

And when I emerged

My hands felt cold

My skin was bit and searing

And the world started spinning again.

With yesterday’s grime flushed away

I had the space to bear the spinning

Of the globe

To bear this week’s truckload

Of nonsense

Into next week’s waters.


Boudica Mae Gast, Class of 2022, is a Literature major from Voorburg, the Netherlands.



Image Sources: originals

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