February 15, 2013

A Nod to Ms. Smith

When I started this blog, I subtitled it “Not waiving but drowning.” It’s a reference to a poem by British poet 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.

It’s not a happy poem. But it’s definitely how I’ve felt all these years: putting on a front for people, pretending to be someone I wasn’t, trying to live in a way that I thought others expected me to. Pretending to be happy — not waiving but drowning. So when I needed to name this blog, it was Ms. Smith’s poem that sprung to mind. And so I thank her.

Some day, when I sort all this out, I’ll have to change the subtitle. But for now, it suits me.

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