Thursday, June 15, 2006

LEAP

Every year, when the weather is hot, crowds of youths climb onto this suspension bridge and urge each other on to jump into the water. Inevitably, since the water is not very deep and the bridge is quite high, one of them dies or is badly injured. Last Friday afternoon they were there again their voices clear and loud even on the river bank. People tell them to stop but of course they take no notice - they are young and invincible. So for POETRY THURSDAY I wrote this on the listening theme. In it I tried to capture the voices that I heard.



LEAP

I cannot help but hear,
you shout it to the world:
'Watch me,' 'Follow me,' 'See me,'
and I do.

You sit crouched
on the top rail
looking down,
waiting.
'Chicken,'
I cannot help but hear:
'Chicken,'
'Lily-livered,'
'Jump,'
So you do.

Down to where the water
is not quite...
'Darren?'
Where the bottom is...
'Daz, man?'
Where there are hidden...
'Daz, stop mucking about.'
And you do.

There are swans here now
and girls in peddle boats.
'Look at me,'
You jumped.
You landed - badly.
And if you could
you would take it back
-each cry,
each 'Look at me,'
each time a clutch of lads
mucks another one up
for the hell of it.

11 Comments:

Blogger Catherine said...

Hi, nice to discover another interesting blog. Thanks for your comments on mine. Kupe is the Maori explorer who supposedly first discovered New Zealand. Of course it is all oral history that far back.
I have bookmarked yours and I'll be back.

Thu Jun 15, 10:32:00 am  
Anonymous JAN said...

Like the poem. You HAVE captured the voices. Many sides to it,refers to any risk , even to any hesitation. Turnings back, goings forward. Consequences. Reminds me re watching youths last summer, leaping off cliffs in Cyprus into the Med, their girlfriends shuddering beneath. Some lads turned away just as they reached the edge. Write more poetry Clare ( when you've finally got to Patagonia, of course..)

Thu Jun 15, 11:19:00 am  
Anonymous krista said...

I was totally one of those youth that thought I was invincible. Where I lived, there was a really high cliff, with a shallow rockey river we used to jump into.

I was that kid. I was totally that kid on your poem. Scratches and bruises aside, I kept jumping.

I'm lucky I didn't ever get really hurt (and neither did my friends) but yes- invinsible. That's what we thought we were.

Thu Jun 15, 11:43:00 am  
Blogger Star said...

Your photo and poem share what the youth see as 'exciting' and I see as peer pressure run amok. You have captured this slice of summer perfectly, Clare. I'll be back to read more from your blog...

Thu Jun 15, 03:41:00 pm  
Blogger Tammy said...

Such a fun poem :) I don't think I was ever that adventurous. Well done!

Thu Jun 15, 07:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Thank you all - comments on poems really make me think - Jan's idea of taking risks, Star's of running amok, and Krista's of feeling invincible - and then wondering if I was one of the ones who leapt like Krista or stayed back and watched like Tammy.

Maybe a bit of both, I think - one thing I remember though is climbing a high tree and falling out, branches breaking my fall and feeling bruised and stupid at the bottom.

Anyway, thanks very much for reading and commenting.

Thu Jun 15, 09:22:00 pm  
Blogger Dani said...

This is a powerful poem. Strong and a little scary.

Fri Jun 16, 12:53:00 am  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

You captured this perfectly!

Very intense.

Fri Jun 16, 06:06:00 pm  
Blogger Susan said...

Written from a mother's perspective, Clare. On the one hand we would wish that the authorities could put an end to this particular trap for young people, but then it would be just one more freedom stripped away. Speaking as a mother though, I'd certainly like someone to pull my child away from 'the edge'!

Fri Jun 16, 06:39:00 pm  
Anonymous Clare said...

Susan: interesting point. Apparently in the UK today they are thinking about making playground equipment more adventurous - so that childrencan get their kicks here instead of say a railway track or on top of a bridge. - but it is a hard balance, as you say. Yes, as mothers we see both sides.

Dani and colorsonmymind - thank you - writing stuff like that is therapeutic too, I think - lifts things off my mind.

Sat Jun 17, 08:56:00 am  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Another fantastic poem Clare - it draws the eye and interest down, down like the diver diving into the water - it is full of life and danger and tension.

Sun Jun 18, 03:11:00 pm  

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