6 September 2022

Ben Phillips*

Too short too heavy too old
It’s performance of a kind
Arthritis bypass hernia
Scratch crew is redefined

Blade victories long since past
No matching sets appearing
Surely inboard close enough
Forget about the gearing

Broken rudder pitted slides
In club shell ever we trust
Gouge the gelcoat lifting out
The pacher collecting dust

Late catch early finishes
Hit the buoy but miss the pier
Rush the slide and lurch to bow
And back in time for a beer

Four reasons to be afloat
One passing thought to bestow
Puddles of serenity
Irregular ebb and flow

*HTBS is happy to publish a poem by Ben Phillips, who began rowing at St. George’s College and then at Hampton School. Ben writes that he was “a wildly ungrateful teen, a deeply mediocre oarsman, and abandoned the water as soon as I started University.” However, thirty years later, Ben found what he calls the “Irregulars” at London Rowing Club. “They have a long history at the club and were thankfully generous with their minimum entry requirements!” he writes. “I have been rowing with them for about four years now, and hoping I’ll still be as capable as many of them when I’m also in my seventies and eighties.”

“My favourite time in a boat ever was a few weeks ago”, Ben writes. “My twelve-year-old son tried rowing at Barn Elms. They were short of coaches one day and let me take him out in a double. He complained constantly, I loved every second. Like father like son – here’s hoping it takes him less than thirty years to realise he actually enjoys it…

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