Surrender

You run away from me,
angry words pounding in my head
like the sound track to Romper Stomper,

sound bites, piling up, shifting
like the heavy oiled bodies
of dead birds in the latest spill.

You run off so fast,
your small body disappears along the sandy path,
a bubbler crab retreats down a hole.

I wait for anger to subside
and the thoughts to slowly die,
like a fish that cannot breathe,

but those thoughts are smothered
completely, like a campfire suffocated by dirt,
when you fail to return.

A stranger passing a report,
I saw the boy mucking about
on the sand-dunes.

I run along a grey beach,
storm clouds gather
like black-garbed mourners at the graveside.

I am dizzy as I drain of blood,
a free-falling skydiver
waiting for the shute to open,

where are you?

Endless, scalloped sand-dunes
line up like soldiers in a silent honour parade,
contents piled up in regular mounds.

My insides erode like the sand-dunes
as time passes,
every mound looks newly formed.

It is too dark to see
so I stumble home for help,

and there you are, my son,

your eyes dark as the storm,
your spiky hair strewn with sand and leaves,
clothes dishevelled,
but your arms in the air, surrendering.

I embrace you,
and you bury your head in my shirt.

I have already surrendered.

__________________________

If this sounds a bit familiar it is because I wrote a little blog called ‘precious children’ about the incident some time ago.

This poem is based on an exercise I did, using the poem ‘Feared Drown’ by Sharon Olds – who is known to like the use of similes.

18 thoughts on “Surrender

  1. Another brilliant offering, a great portrayal of the chaos that encompassed that day, glad he was safe in your arms that night ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. aloha – (i remembered!) – an intense draining and emotional experience that you’ve used to bring about awareness, good and hope in this world. in a well written poetic way. in some ways i think poetry communicates something like this in a more enlightening way than prose might. cool on both of you. aloha.

  3. i recognized the story but told in such a different way, i think it really makes the feelings resonate, especially the way it ends, whew, i was right there. so real and very moving.

    1. Thanks tipota – it was an interesting exercise for me, trying to relate the intensity of the feelings of that day – easier to do in poetry than in prose (unless you write like Selma who has the knack of writing poetic prose).

  4. I remember that earlier post, but this one has a different truth about fear — imaginary, or rather exaggerated — thankfully! but still a truth, and well captured too (that was an unintentional pun …)

  5. This made me cry. So full of feeling and I loved every single stanza, but these two are so honest in the way only a parent can be. These were the two that provoked the salt water activity:
    I wait for anger to subside
    and the thoughts to slowly die,
    like a fish that cannot breathe,

    but those thoughts are smothered
    completely, like a campfire suffocated by dirt,
    when you fail to return.

    1. Thanks Val – crying is good ๐Ÿ™‚ This pales into insignificance in comparison with your horrific experiences, but as parents we share that unbreakable bond with our children that makes us worry so much about them.

  6. You truly captured the panic that settles in the pit of your stomach when such a thing happens. I could see and feel everything. My favourite line is ‘My insides erode like the sand dunes’ – totally brilliant!

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