HIGH DIVE: A VARIANT
Practice has made this come out right.
The diver's legs are springs; like steel
coils they impel him up. Afloat
he can reroute himself; at peak
a schooled swan, arched and masterful.
Coming down, he dreams his weight
has clamped him underneath a weight
in dreams he strains against. Upright
in sleep, in no way masterful,
who cannot break away can steel
himself; dying, can wake at the peak
of terror, sweated with fear, afloat
in life. This mid-air swan, outflowed
arms and legs arced, knows to wait
his downdrift out. We sweat and peek;
washed in or out of sleep, the rite
is mortal: to fall in old lands till
hands slip on air, limbs muster full
force, and death, old master full
of craft, lets go. We wake, we have fled.
And will tomorrow let us steal
another rescue, our human wit
praying the dark to underwrite
the force that sucks us from the peak?
Wilfully, do we dare to pique
the satin pool this master falling-diving
bird cleaves, left and right?
Dreaming, what ancient dangers flood
us vertical? What monkey whit
presses us down from tree tops still?
Practice perfects the diver's steel
muscles, his style, his board-to-peak
lightfoot boned and bladed weight.
In air he attends his masterful
orders: to tuck, to pike, to float.
And every exit turns out right
until the last. Like steel pressed masterful
ly from the peak, our begging bodies float
no more; gain weight and fall. The end is right.