• The Swallow

The Duck and the Dive : Part 3

‘Duck and Dive’ is Cockney rhyming slang for skive. Poignant. We’ll come back to that. In boxing, the Duck, is a defensive manoeuvre, the literal dipping of knees to bend and dodge quickly out of the way of an approaching smash to the face. But it is just a light dip that pops right back up again with eager readiness and anticipation of the next forthcoming blow. It’s the clever dodge, the keen eye, the quick witted response. It’s the bobbing, weaving, jostling, cajoling that baits the opponent with threat that hustles, ‘Come on, I’m ready’ and hastens the full fury of FIGHT!

So then, what of the dive Skive? … Full weight hurling motion, wrath packed, thrown power punch, rolling smooooth… in pure attack mode,.. to counter the meek flirting temptress knee dip of the duck? Nope. Taking a dive, yes Skive!, also refers to the slothful, lazy, secretly, wilfully, pulling back with intentional abandonment of past passion, commitment, integrity and morals for some snap cash by bailing and bottoming out to purposefully lose in a prize fight. The epitome of bombing it, in the old fashioned sense, by absolutely plummeting to total soul destroying, humiliation inducing, ground zero levelling, reductionist destruction, that results in complete annihilation of character, credentials and authenticity of the game.

On balance, it’s poised as an expression of managing a situation with skill, intelligence and wit - which sometimes does mean being able to spot a problem and get out of the way, quickly! Lexico online, sums this up quite nicely as, “Using one's ingenuity to deal with or evade a situation.” And Idioms free dictionary as, “To use one's cleverness or resourcefulness to avoid or address problems or obstacles.” It goes on to cite Politicians as examples, which I’m less eager to get on board with… Perhaps. As long as we don’t bundle in, skirting, deflecting, defecting and avoiding, as positive handling of issues.

So, in light of my past experiences and explorations, I have devised my own definition.

The Duck, is the shying away, the hiding. It is the evading of potential danger, real or perceived. Whilst risking experiences and existence itself. Forgoing a moment of hurt for a lifetime of agonising empty nothingness. It is the bowing out, the retreat, it is the keeping safe and the licking of wounds, the massaging of old ones, the time to stitch up and the strengthening of torn tissues. It is the melancholy lament of the last fight, the disappointment of defeat, the hung head of humiliation, the sadness of shame. It is the fear of danger that came too close for comfort, the questioning of self and the trying to stay safe. The antagonising feeling of uncertainty, coupled with the agonising empty of self abandonment.

The Dive, is the getting back out there, the getting up again, and again, the venturing from shelter, the coming out from hiding. It is the bold manoeuvre, the risk taker, with the switch held, propelling full tilt, in kilter. It is thrill and danger, it is play and adventure. It is survival and survival, twice over. Necessary, unavoidable. It is the legacy of existence and an imprint of significance. A lineage of survival of the fittest.

“The legacy of existence is an imprint of significance.”

And here, when we examine ourselves, instead of abandoning ourselves, we find, that we are not on our own. That we belong to an ancient biological ancestral family of survivors, over-comers, achievers and adapters. That we have a gene pool of power, strength, determination, wit, ingenuity, stealth and perhaps some East End charm. It is our heritage that it courses through our veins and it connects us too, within the core of our deep selves, to our fellow villagers and communities.

And so, with no judgment here of myself or any fellow traveller… - Only plain honest vulnerable truth has the right to speak… I admit to you, that part of mine, is that I seem in constant oscillation. I live, I have lived, between the duck and the dive, and for a while I stopped too long in the duck and got stuck.

I am not where I thought I would be in life by now and I thought about it all a little later than would perhaps be ideal. But there are others with great stories before me and I understand now, that it is far from over. The dark only leads to more dark and before long you must come out and face the light, and fight. Fight for your place in the story, in the prize fight, no skiving in sight.

So this is my coming out party. My facing the world, skin imperfectly scarred, battle marred, but still strong. Bringing myself back into the game, offering, myself and my creativity, my time, my resourcefulness, my passion, my spirt, my light… OUT… in the hope of future impact, of transformation and making a difference. To fiercely live up to the examples of my forebears, slip into the jet stream of my namesake, The Swallow, and to weave at pace, in intelligence with instinct, to survive, but moreover, to thrive.

Duck and Dive – Skive.


Duck and Dive – Thrive.

The Swallow


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