Wild Swimmer


One of the Park's poetic wood-clad electricity transformers (See also "Fun Palace" and "Spark Catchers") that commemorates an aspect of Park life and history.

This poem by Jo Shapcott imagines the Park from water level. “Dive in”, she writes, encouraging you to “swim” through the poem and the past, as you look out over the Park’s canals and rivers. Shapcott uses the metaphor of water to explore the fluid and changing history of this part of East London, from Alfred the Great to the Industrial Revolution. The poem finishes by emerging into the Aquatics Centre designed by Zaha Hadid, in a contemporary celebration of architecture, energy and achievement.

“Swim your heart out,” Shapcott writes, “for you are all gold”.

From "Wild Swimmer"

...Here, the River Lea became a man-made mesh
of streams and channels to drain the marsh,
a maze for lightermen, of channels through
old waste, today’s liquid green corridors.
Count off rivers as you swim: Bow Creek, the Waterworks,
the Channelsea, the City Mill, Hennikers Ditch...