Richard Biddle





Naked, unseen and alone; a belligerent bullfrog, I squat
among reed-mace, amidst a fog of grey gnats. Watching
the water for whirlpools, heartbeat, steady as a millstone.

Step by step, I enter my element at a somnambulist’s pace.
Each foot, carefully placed, sinks ankle-deep into the mud’s
puckering sphincters, leaving no trace of my transition.

As my knees, thighs and groin disappear beneath the flow,
I know myself as buoyancy and become my own tide, a shoal
of myself, fluid, alive, as though I’m of the river, not in it.

And now I’m eel; sleek, black and muscle-packed, writhing.
A scribble of orgasmic spasms. Feet, fast as flippers, I
bubble-up a froth and flip to where the green weeds cling.

Craving caresses, I swim through the silky sensuality of these
liquid ribbons. Soft fronds stroke my chest, belly and genitalia
causing a thrilling chill to domino-run along my vertebrae.

Envious of fish, my lungs wrung dry, I rise and inhale. Then
once more, baptise myself into the Church Of Aquaphilia.
Rolling as a wave might, I kick and strike, like a pike taking prey.

Finally, gagging on the churning swell, my strength waning,
I gargle the dying notes of my gill-less song and guiltily return
to the dry discomfort of my abandoned clothes.




Richard Biddle teaches Creative Writing at Chichester College. His poetry been published online and in the journals: Urthona, Brittle Star and Dream Catcher. It has also appeared in several anthologies. In 2013 his poem ‘Transparency’ won The Big Blake Project’s William Blake Poetry Prize. You can find him on twitter as @littledeaths68.

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