My Blog of Blogs
Current and historical attempts to chronicle my life and thoughts
(more about these blogs)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Stevie Smith, "Not Waving But Drowning"

[This essay was originally posted to "The Third Tale," a blog on Weebly. In transferring it I have updated and made corrections where necessary.]

You never know what another person is going through.

Lila and I have often discussed this recently: how a friend who lives far away can suddenly pronounce herself "cancer free," when you had no idea; how you can spend a day in drudgery with someone, only to find out later it was his birthday.

It makes you realize how important it is to be kind, to create the least trouble for someone as possible, because you never know which straw will break the camel's back.

This is something I need to get better at.

I found a poem a couple of weeks ago that captures perfectly the idea that people are often suffering silently.

The poet's hand-drawn illustration of the poem

"Not Waving But Drowning"
Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

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.

The poet reads her poem aloud and discusses its background

More background

Categories: Compassion, Poetry, Spirituality

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave me a message; I can't wait to hear from you!