A Poem: “On Being Young By Water”

“On Being Young By Water”

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(Begun 4/28/11 – Maybe Sort of Finished 5.23.15)

 

By Jane Tawel

Do you remember those nights

Of being young by water?

Do you recall the haunting of the watery smell

As you lay longing in your bed until

You threw your covers off?

***********************************************

And when the sounds of waves lapped against your dreams

You woke to yearning more complete than any pain,

More in tune with your need than any Sirens’ Songs,

Swooshing against the solitary staccato of your heart.

****************************************************************

When you were young,

Encased within the sounds and smells and sights of H2O

The Water World held your DNA

More tightly than a womb.

Your small raised fists floated carelessly

Arguing for sense in puberty’s mad, mad world.

The moonlight stabbed through leaky window screens

And the water washed away day’s bloody light.

‘Til morning expelled you to breathe away the night.

******************************************************

The sunwaves licked you like a hungry cat each morning

And the daywaves called you out to splash and play,

Luring you to your death against the shoals of growing up.

And the lullaby of water

Nixed you to sleep on dreamwaves each night.

**************************************************************

When I was young with 78’s

I knew the watery poets better than my best friend,

Who never really was, though not imaginary.

We traded diaries and sleepovers,

Creating the tie-dye fantasies of our futures.

We swam upstream toward an unseen shore.

I didn’t know that friends loved with oars while

I swam rudderless, hoping for a lifeguard.

**************************************************

One day I found a Lifesaver floating by on a river of blood.

I jumped in the water and got dunked three times,

Father, Son and Holy Water.

I’m still clinging, trying not to drown in the baptism of Life.

************************************************

And now the waves keep rolling me along past landing after landing,

Safety always geysering just out of reach

Only enough strokes left to make it a little further today

While my arms grow weary and my legs numb.

And I know that scary things lurk underneath

And I know I cannot surface or I will drown.

*******************************************************

Now I thirst to come ashore and wake to

My aqueous dreams by The Lake,

And languish in young hurt,

And cry waves of tears at lost love–

Imagined oceanic love, not real –

Real love is like a desert.

**********************************************

I tried to take a CPR crash course so I could teach my daughter how to swim.

She swims so hard, she sweats while shivering wet with cold, cold tears

But acts as if she’s always dry—

Modeling like Ran

For the Sea’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

She blasts into me for being wrong about how drenched her heart is,

She thinks that I won’t notice she is taking a hot shower in icy unshed tears.

No, nothing’s wrong, Mom……” Except on Facebook.

We paddled too far from the water world and the desert daily drowns us.

I only want to sail her home.

****************************************************************

Do you remember those nights of

Being young by water?

Oh! the smell of waving, living water still breaks my heart, ten thousand miles away.

*******************************************************

Now I float helplessly, treading foolishly in Time’s Current

“You can’t outswim Me”, Dylan the Second Wave god reminds.

********************************************************

And the days’ tides run out to nights.

And I do not sleep through them

Anymore.

I lie awake knowing that soon

The tide will not return.

At least for me.

*****************************************************

I hope someday, I shall not burn out,

But float away

Buoyed up to walk on waves,

Young again, forever

Spending endless days and nights

Of being young by water.

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3 thoughts on “A Poem: “On Being Young By Water””

  1. Lovely, my friend. Only lived by water a few times in my youth and got constantly dragged to the beach where I was hot and hungry and wanted to be in the shade to read. And this was before sunblock was invented. Ah, but living in an apartment with a pool at the start of high school..slathering ourselves with baby oil, same effect as frying a chicken…putting Sun-In in our hair, which promptly turned it orange, layers and layers of Platinum nail polish on our nails, never letting it dry so it became a nasty looking mess. And never having the right body. Yep, being young by the water.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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