Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Sunday, 7 February 2016


The Return of the Drowning Man

I thought he'd gone
but I was wrong.

Weighed down by feelings
he'd sunken deeper inside me.

(Only the darkest passions
live this far down.)

And I could feel
the weight of the ocean over him.

26 December 1987

I have no idea what prompted this poem but the date might be significant, Boxing Day, the day after Christmas and always a bit of an anti-climax. An article in The Irish Times at the end of last year opened with the following statistics:

ONE-in-six people believe Christmas is the loneliest time of the year, according to a survey.

A quarter of people surveyed by the Samaritans said "everything feels worse" over the festive season.

The charity is expecting an upsurge in the number of calls it receives over the holiday period.

The survey also revealed that one in 15 often spent Christmas [alone] while one in 25 said they were with family and friends but actually were alone.

This is nothing new. For years we’ve been aware of the problem.

On the whole this poem feels like it’s missing something and I think this is because by now I was starting to think of The Drowning Man Poems as a set and even though I didn’t have a plan for the sequence I did realise this was just the next logical statement. Maybe when I get to the end I’ll repost the whole group and you can see what you think.


Gwil W said...

I'm surprised that so many find Christmas the loneliest time of year. I understand why they would but that it is so many is worrying. In a street of 60 people there are 10 lonely persons, in a village of 600 persons 100 are lonely, in a town of 6,000 about 1,000 are lonely etc.. Maybe some surveyed confused lonely with being alone, which is quite another thing.

Kass said...

It's quite a descriptive poem. We all feel we have dark passions which sink deeper and deeper until we're somewhat alienated from reality.

Jim Murdoch said...

There was a BBC documentary I watched a few weeks back entitled ‘The Age of Loneliness’ which indicated that loneliness is a growing problem in the UK (and presumably elsewhere according to this article) and across all age bands too, Gwilym.

And, Kass, thank you. I’ve never really considered myself a passionate person. Emotional, yes, but I tend to think of the passions as a specific subset of emotions, the hot-blooded ones, and that’s not really me.

Jonathan Chant said...

Again, another wonderful poem. Think Kass has hit the nail on the head.

Jim Murdoch said...

I'm always surprised by the ones that strike a chord with people, Jonathan but I'm not complaining.

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