Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not Waving But Drowning

My soon to be sister-in-law and great friend Sarah (She’s engaged to my brother Marcus and knows that I am gay) reminded me of a poem the other day by Stevie Smith.

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.

I had read and thought about this poem a lot. If you read it for a literal interpretation it can get really confusing, but for me it sums up a sense of feeling and emotion that I experience frequently.

I experienced it again today when I visited with my dear grandma, in who’s basement apartment I rent out. She was asking me if I was dating any girls. I panicked, smiled, and sort of lied. I told her I had gone on a few dates with a girl recently, and “we’ll see what happens.” She then began telling me all about this girl she met in the temple that she thinks would just be perfect for me. The whole while I’m thinking about the emotional torment that I have been going through being closeted, about how important temple marriages are to me as a member of the church, and how might my grandma react if she knew I was being gay.

I left waving and smiling to my grandma, while drowning in emotion inside.

Thankfully, I have friends and family that can and do see when I am emotionally drowning. They offer comfort, safety, encouragement, and hope to help me press on in my life.


  1. I do so love that poem. Thanks for sharing your blog with me.

  2. I often wonder how my grandparents would have reacted... They are all gone now and don't have to deal with it. They are from such a different generation.

    I am glad that you have lots of friends and family to support you.