Rowing up to the Dam

Poulaphouca Dam on Blessington Lake

13 February 2021

By Leo Gibson

On the early morning winter lake,
I hear the swish against the shell
of the quickly freezing ice.
I hear the sweet slot of the oars
As we hunt that perfect catch.
I hear that seat rasp sound
as we drive them up the slide.
But that’s all far too long ago.
Now I feel the creaky knees,
The shoulder sometimes frozen
And the spine that times talks back to me.
But that is just some pain,
Now three some decades on,
It is the price of memories
We will not trade for aught.

(February 2021)

Leo Gibson, Director, Rowing Ireland, has a business degree from University College Dublin (UCD). It was at UCD he took up rowing and competed in the college senior eight in 1975 and 1976. Thereafter, Gibson took up sculling and was a top ranked lightweight sculler in Ireland in 1979. He subsequently raced internationally in Germany, UK, Egypt and Switzerland. Gibson has been Honorary Secretary of the Rowing Union, and he set up the Irish Lightweight Rowing Squad with John Holland as coach. In the mid-1990s, he revamped the structure of Veteran/Masters rowing with a new rule structure which allowed different age crews to compete side by side using a handicap system which considerably increased the number of crews competing at this level.

This is his first poem published on HTBS.

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