Drowning Amid Waves

That swimmer Stevie Smith mentioned
the one “not waving but drowning”
off Muscle Beach that cold morning
still the iron ones sweating
considered neither waving nor drowning
men but lifting they carried one another.

He was too far out for his cries
to be heard and from under their
umbrellas they waved back at him,
but he wasn’t waving, Stevie said,
he was drowning, but how did Stevie
know – ah! the lifeguard poet

who drowning waves not to be
saved but to say here I am
and goodbye, goodbye
my loves goodbye
I am too far out for you to hear this
this wave to all along the shoreline.