Friday, April 11, 2014

Not waving but drowning

Ever felt this way? I was much further out than you thought.

Nobody heard him, the dead man,   
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought   
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,   
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always   
(Still the dead one lay moaning)   
I was much too far out all my life   
And not waving but drowning.

-- Stevie Smith


Michele Hush said...

I love this poem. Stevie Smith became a momentary "thing" when I was in high school, and I bought a book with this poem in it. The metaphor has stayed with me ever since, and I think of this often.

Susan Champlin said...

I love this poem, too, and I'll always hear it in Glenda Jackson's voice. Did you ever see the film "Stevie," with the wonderful relationship between Jackson and Mona Washbourne as Stevie's "lion Aunt"?

Katherine C. James said...

There is something magical in logging on to find an evening post from Bumble, something I look forward to, and finding not only the post, and this poem with the lines, "I was too far out all my life / not waving but drowning," but also finding Michele and Susan commenting from the East Coast 8 and 5 hours ago. It delights me that not only are you both familiar with the poem, but you can refer to a film with Glenda Jackson in it that relates to it. There is a connectedness to this that I find comforting here in my bed in the East Bay after coming home from watching the sun set over the Marin Hills with the bay, the Bay Bridge, and the Golden Gate spread out before me. Susan, I tried to find a way to watch the film. No luck so far, just disjointed section on YouTube. A happy slumber to you all.