(20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971 / Kingston upon Hull)

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.

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Comments (23)

Not Waving but Drowning on music! You will find my version at https: //soundcloud.com/donaldhoutgraaf/not-waving-but-drowning-poem-by-stevie-smith
To many interpretations excepting the first lines
TIM MANZANO understood the poem perfectly as if he wrote it himself nice poem- something to ponder 10 points
It helps to have a look at Stevie Smith`s life to understand her style. I detect a slight pre-Plathian tendency in her work, in the sense she was too a confessional poet.
In this poem and the comments read carefully but the comment made by TIM MANZANO covers the poem....what i think, if one is away from the fact e.g a man swimming, waving, his movements of arm and hand is clearly seen..one may think he is enjoying whereas fact is..he is drowning..a message deeds and action that kills..wolf..wolf..non turned up..larking...thats the end of joy
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