too far out all my life...

Stevie Smith

Not Waving but Drowning

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.


In the middle of the world, there's nothing but silence. You start with nothing, and you end the same ... it was too cold always.

The heart gives way. All the things we're connected to leave us, slip away.

I was much too far out ... and become smaller each day.


M. C. Allan said...

This is one of the first poems I ever loved. Of course, I discovered it as a sullen teenager, and thought "Yeah!" But I still love the craft and the sonics of it, the sense of unrootedness.

Anonymous said...

I love Stevie Smith. I've noticed lately I am drawn to my old pals Smith, Plath, and a bunch of early 90s poets.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks MC & Melissa.