May 252013

A gorgeous, sad poem that’s been on my mind, plus the poet’s own introduction, a bit about the provenance of the poem, the lonely struggle of existence…

I love that line, “I was much too far out all my life.”

Stevie Smith is great eccentric poet, very dry, melancholy and funny (sometimes). Even this poem exhibits a note of bizarre black humour. You should also take a look at her Novel Written on Yellow Paper.


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.

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