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.

Stevie Smith, from Collected Poems of Stevie Smith. Copyright © 1972 by Stevie Smith. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.
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