Sunday, October 27, 2013

Drowning At Sea - I Have A Dream

Baffle 2013

I have a dream, ladies and gentlemen, yes, I have a dream.
No, not the Martin Luther King kind, though it may seem,
that I might indeed have conjured up such a glorious triptych scheme.

No scheme, and it’s not a plan either, no grand design to conquer or win,
in some devilishly clever manner, the hearts of women and men,
nor even saving their souls, or taxing the wages of sin.

No my dream is much less laudable, far less fanciful and rare,
for my dream is simply the worst kind of scary nightmare,
where I am the hapless victim, the sacrificial lamb, in terrible danger

In my dream, I am alone in an angry ocean, of wave, after tumultuous wave.
No, I am not on a boat, or a ship, not even a raft, I am swimming, like mad, to save,
myself from drowning, from dying, from sinking helplessly into a cold, watery grave.

Yes, I imagine you have been there yourself, on occasion, permit me -
You are on holiday, had a few, went swimming, too far from the shore for safety,
you panic, swallow water, but just for a moment, it’s ok, you’re still in depth, you see.

Not me, in my dream the ocean is fathomless, deep, dark and forbidding
There is no reassuring shore, no tanned lifeguard to answer my frantic bidding
And by the way, there are sharks, all around, sharp-toothed and hungry, no kidding!

The ship that I fell off, though in my dream I can’t remember falling,
is sailing away, towards the horizon, totally ignoring my panicked bawling
I reach for my mobile, it’s on roaming, no signal, wet, no point calling

I’ve heard it said that when you’re dying your whole life flashes before you!
Not true, or at least not true for me, all I see is darkness around me, not a clue,
how did I get here, who I am, I’m alone, just me drowning again, hopeless déjà vu

Truth be told, this dream, this nightmare, visits me often, nearly every day.
At each replay, it gets worse, I’m worried, terrified, I’ve aged, I’ve gone grey.
The doctors can’t help me, prescribed everything, they even suggested I pray.

I’ve tried that of course, and I’ve found that it helps, praying sincerely
to St. Anthony for my lost life-vest,  begging St. Christopher to steer me
and St. Jude, for lost causes and hopeless cases, God bless him, he hears me

He must do, ‘cause in the dreams, just as I am about to drown, or be eaten
I am rescued by an off-course helicopter, or a pod of dolphins have beaten
the sharks, a currach skips across the waves, I’m snatched to safety, death-cheatin’.

Saved from the sea, exhausted, I drift back to sleep, though my relief is short-lived,
as each mornings news brings word of yet another family, devastated, bereaved.
The sea claims her own, but if cheated, another is soon taken, ‘tis believed.

I’ve cheated the sea quite a few times, in life and in dreams, though I still love to swim.
Floating on my back in Salthill last Wednesday, I basked in my vast, outdoor gym,
rejoicing on being alive, keeping healthy, feeling young, slim, trim with a touch of vim

Life was good, I dressed, shivering, turned on the car radio, and then heard about Niall.
A young man in his prime, so much talent, so much to live for, what caused his travail?
How dark were his demons, how deep was his ocean, what made his world spoil?

He is not coming back. His hurl and white helmet are stored. His deeds on the field,
will oft be re-told, but his phone was no use, his calls went unheard, his shield,
proved no match for the vengeful sea dragon. Drowned in an ocean, his fate was sealed.

Suicide’s not the answer to that demon called depression. That monstrous scourge,
stalks the land, randomly preying on the young and the vulnerable. Lets stop this surge!
Help is at hand. Pieta, Samaritans, St. Jude and you. Let Niall’s be the last funeral dirge.

I drove on away home, tears in my eyes. I promised I’d do what not enough of us choose,
to open my door, to reach out my hand, to reassure the lost, and not fear to lose,
to try to help others, from drowning at sea, no matter the cost, I’m spreading the news.

Drowning At Sea - I Have A Dream
This was my poem that I entered and read in the Baffle Poetry Festival that is held in Loughrea each Halloween weekend. This year's theme was 'Spreading the news'. 
Mine was not a winner, but I felt I had to write it because so many people, young men especially are committing suicide in Ireland every week. It is truly the saddest news that is spreading. We can all try to help those with suicidal thoughts or who are suffering from depression. Simply reaching out to them and speaking with them is a start. Being open to approach and being non-judgemental is also great. Lets do all we can to prevent more young people from ending their lives this way.
I would like to dedicate this poem to Niall Donohue, who was yet another victim to the monster we call depression. He died this week, a terrible shock to his family, friends and community. They are reeling from his loss. He was only, a lovely lad, a talented hurler and has left behind a saddened and stunned family and community. Air dheis De go raibh a h-anam.
Samaritans Phone 1850609090
Pieta House‎ or
For more on Niall's short life and his tragic death...see
St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes, hopeless cases and depression. His saints day is October 28, co-incidentally, tomorrow. Brian Nolan