Tonight’s poem is the epitome of the angst-y college girl poem. I fell in love with Stevie Smith way back then (OK, not that terribly long ago) and she was my version of Alanis Morissette. Every now and then life twirls in a dizzying frenzy and overwhelmed, I think back to this poor fellow waving madly 😉

Not Waving, but Drowning by Stevie Smith

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.

down for the 3rd time music: Everything Happens to Me (try the Wynton Marsalis version, it just slides down); Wine (the Willys — a cool little band from Hanover, PA); Laughing out Loud (the Wallflowers); Keep Mediocrity at Bay (Van Morrison); Dimes (AJ Roach); Amateur (Aimee Mann); I don’t care much (from Cabaret); You Learn (Alanis Morissette); I want a little sugar in my bowl (Allison Moorer); Mr. Rock & Roll (Amy MacDonald); Laugh so you don’t cry (Andy Davis); Whole World (Aloe Blacc — freaky but evocative); Help! (Beatles); The Lost Song (Cat Empire); Here Comes Floyd (Cheryl Wheeler); Hanginaround (Counting Crows); Say Goodnight (Beth Neilsen Chapman); The Bed I Made (Bonnie Raitt); The Old Playground (Bruce Hornsby); Goodbye Alice in Wonderland (Jewel); Your Own Worst Enemy (Bruce Springsteen); and Pressure (Billy Joel).

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm –> Willa Cather

Take care,

2 thoughts on “Wednesday poetry break

  1. I’ve never learned anything in the “calm.” Life is not calm, at least not mine. Never was, never will be. I understand that it will be that way until they put me in the oven and my ashes fall out. I once heard a friend mention that people all know their limits. I totally agree. Why wish for things you realize you cannot attain? Like calm.

    My entire life has been about storms. Ducking through them, around them, but mostly getting lashed by the wind and the rain in the center of them. There is no “why-me,” there is just drenching rain that sometimes, most times, never stops. It’s hard being wet all your life. It gets old. It stops you from remembering what calm felt like, if you ever really did. It stops you from even wanting to try and remember. It’s too much work and the rain keeps falling.

    So, I don’t believe Willa. For people with no chance for calm there cannot be anything to learn, except for the failure that is inherent in your mind knowing calm will never be achieved.

    As Dylan said; “It’s a hard rain, gonna fall.”

    Take care Alyce, Nice talking with you.

  2. John,

    Yeah, but that same album has “Blowin’ in the Wind,” the other response to the buffets of fate. Life just is.

    And while you are right, calm is often an illusion — the eye of the hurricane as it readies its next punch; there are moments, brief glimpses even in the chaos. If not, you wouldn’t know that there was anything except the storm.

    Hey, I’m probably the most optimistic pessimist you’ll ever meet — my Daddy always told me to “expect the best, but prepare for the worst.” Which, come to think of it was far more profound than the secret of marriage he passed on the day Chris & I got married. Intrigued?

    Well, one half of it was that I should make the bed every morning….. we’ll save the rest for another discussion 🙂

    As that other profound lyricist, Sir Paul wrote, “[you’ll] get by with a little help from your friends…” and just remember we’re out here!!!

    Take care,

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