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.

by Stevie Smith (1902-1971)

P.S. This is by far the most famous poem by Stevie Smith; it even has its own wikipedia page.

 

One Response to “Not Waving but Drowning”

  1. Reminds me a bit of a line from a Leonard Cohen song: I know that kind of man it’s hard to hold the hand of anyone who’s reaching for the sky just to surrender.

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