17 September 2013
Not Waving but Drowning
Everyone has experienced at least one missed opportunity in their lives. Whether on the giving end or the receiving end, the hollowness in one’s soul that accompanies a missed opportunity never quite goes away. It haunts you for the rest of your life, if you let it. In Stevie Smith’s poem, Not Waving but Drowning, Ms. Smith pieces together a hauntingly beautiful depiction of what it really means to miss out on an opportunity to reach out for help. As a result of that missed opportunity, those in the poem who are affected by it must live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.
As we start reading the beginning of the poem, the use of multiple narrators in the first stanza gives the first few lines a conversational feel. It starts out with a 3rd person perspective, and then switches to first person. “Nobody heard the dead man, // But still he lay moaning: // I w...