Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Drowning - A Poem

Now I do not think of myself as one who does creative writing - poems, stories, etc. - that I am more of a creative prose writer who likes to reflect in long paragraphs on life.  However, not too long ago, this poem came to me.  I have edited it, tweaked it, changed the formatting. I have sat with it, wondered if I should share it.  Is it too personal? Would it make me too vulnerable?  On the other hand, there is another part of me that wants to share it, thinking that it needs to be heard.  Maybe there are others who have felt this way and have been searching for words to express what is in their hearts. So the need to share it has surpassed my fear. What is the saying - "the magic happens outside your comfort zone?"  So here is me, stepping outside my comfort zone.

Drowning


I am drowning...
      it seems like it has been for all time
I am hanging on with the two others who are counting on me,  
      on a thin ladder
This ladder keeps us from going under...but it is missing rungs 
      and the waves keep battering us
We can't yet reach a place above the water
There are those that have life preservers
     they throw them to us
     we hang on a little longer.....until they break
Some have no life preservers but they hear our cries,
They send love and prayers
Some have given us life preservers 
     but they no longer have any to share
Others have life preservers 
     but tell us that if they were to provide them it isn't a solution; 
     just giving you life preservers doesn't work

Meanwhile the storm rages,  the waves get higher and a few more rungs get knocked down
Once again we are slipping off the ladder,  
     once again we need life preservers to keep us going
Others don't know us,  they believe we can just haul ourselves back in
That if life preservers are provided 
     we will just want to get life preservers instead of working our way to dry land
They tell us this is our fault,  my fault
They call me lazy,  
     they don't really believe me that I am doing all the things I could do
     to get us to dry land
Trying every solution we know and trying ones others suggest     
     yet still we can't reach dry land,  
     getting out of the raging water 
     remains out of reach

I am drowning....there are two others counting on me
I am screaming and struggling
some just stand to the side and tell me to keep up the good work
They don't know how tired I am
They don't know that I don't know 
     how much longer I can tread water or
     if I will come up the next time the waves push me under

Dear G-d I am drowning
Do you hear my cries? 
Are you listening?
Can anyone hear me?
I am drowning...can you help?

We are not the only ones.
Some have just fallen in,  shocked,  
     unknowing of what to do
We can see them and remember how that felt
Others have been in here longer,  they are more tired,  
     more despairing
Some this is all they have ever known.   
Firm land under their feet is no more than a fairy tale.
I don't know if they still pray for relief,  for help,  
     for something different
Maybe they just pray to make it this day,  
     this hour,  
     this minute

Most do not want to see any of us
We remind them that the firm ground under their feet may not be so firm
Our cries for help are heard as a demand that they give something up,  
     something they "worked for" something "they earned"
     That we wouldn't be drowning if we had just
     "worked hard" and "played by the rules"
     instead we just want "a hand out"

I am drowning
We are drowning
Is anybody listening?
Is anybody seeing?
Can anybody help?