Revising a “Dolphin Dream” (Slivers of silver, gradients gray.)


The poem below, Dolphin Dream,  is a revised version of a draft poem I wrote this past April as part of my effort to celebrate National Poetry Month.  (I try to post a new draft poem every day.)   I was planning on linking this revised version last week for the dVerse Poets Pub, “Meet the Bar”, event in which participants give each other helpful commentary to improve their poems, but because that event focused (in a very interesting way) on the subject of poetic craft, and this poem is not really very “crafty”, I did not highlight it.  At any rate, here it is for the dVerse Poets “Open Link” night.   I am very happy to get commentary from both dVerse poets and non-dVerse poets.  (Thanks much.)

Dolphin Dream

The hospital warned I’d have to cart
the scanner needed to test my heart,
my torso too, and abdomen,
the places growths had lodged within.

I carried the scanner in a bag;
still those who saw it guessed the sag
that weighed my spirit, slowed my walk,
and, only human, began to talk.

Upset, I left, broke for the sea,
though the waves that day were high for me.
To escape what seemed a crushing blow,
I took a dive far far below. 

The drop was so precipitate,
five fathoms deep I had to wait,
and watch above the wash of bubbles–
warning signs of deadly troubles,

’till, as my lungs used up my breath,
I saw a sight beyond the rest,
from my cerulean deep sea bed,
a paisley pattern over head.

Slivers of silver, gradients grey,
muscled curves as clear as day,
Sharks? No, dolphins. My heart took flight,
awe subsuming background fright.

Their ease, their grace, was palpable;
to wish them gone felt culpable;
though soon my lungs were so compressed,
wonder turned to harsh distress.

The need for change brought exhalation,
despite the lack of further ration–
no air down there–and so far down,
I felt that I must surely drown.

I woke up treading toward the light,
gasping, panting, in the night,
afraid to settle back to sleep,
though longing to re-spy that deep.

That I could watch those dolphins twist
without a clutch inside my chest!
That I could sink into that dream,
without a thought of scan machine,

or hospital, or sense of tumor,
hush of the half-murmured rumor.
But how could I return with ease
to a place I could not breathe,

where ocean salt still left its trace
inside my heart and on my face,
and dolphins swam as far above
as anything I’ve ever loved.

One query for commenters is whether the last line should read “as everything I’ve ever loved” rather than anything.  

P.S.  I’m reposting an old picture.  (Sorry!)   I don’t like to do this, but it was one of the first I did on iPad 2 so I’ve always had a soft spot for it.

Explore posts in the same categories: iPad art, poetry

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10 Comments on “Revising a “Dolphin Dream” (Slivers of silver, gradients gray.)”

  1. zumpoems Says:

    This is very enjoyable!
    I prefer anything over everything but think the two “as” make it a little awkward: “AS far above AS anything….:

    I like this poem, but would take a look at improving that last stanza.

  2. jenneandrews Says:

    As a staunch advocate of free verse and eschewer of forms that to me become a distraction and short-circuit the power of a given line, this is beautifully done. You have an ease and grace although such a dream would be a nightmare for anyone. I don’t have a problem with the two As’s– and love it the way it is. xxxj

  3. brian Says:

    ironically i was swimming once off the florida coast with my family…my older was just a baby…two fins came up and we thought we were done…of course they were dolphins…your poem took me back there..the dance through this is nice…a nice rhythm…i agree maybe focus on your close….

  4. Pat Hatt Says:

    Yeah I’d go with anything in this case too, wonderful verse you gave as well.

  5. I liked the rhyming couplets throughout – the rhymes don’t feel forced. I actually prefer anything – I know why you questioned it – but I don’t think one has to worry about sing/plural and go for the alliteration. Felt the dream and the emotion. Well done. G.

  6. tashtoo Says:

    You’ve got a difficult rhyme to work with in your finish. I love it as written, but if your looking for something stronger, maybe play with the wording of the third line so that your can open up the last for the killing blow (no pun!) I’m also more than content to enjoy and praise this piece as is!

  7. claudia Says:

    love the rhymes as they underline the dancing rhythm of this…would love to swim with some dolphins…when i was a child i always watched flipper on tv…this brought me back there somehow..

  8. The last time fishing in Tahiti before getting on the plane we had a lemon shark in the lagoon and we had it coming straight at us in the canoe. It was such a great site and knew we were fine. I love to see this on the islands and our waters are so crystal clear we can see clear to the bottom of the lagoon floor.

  9. Morning Says:

    beautiful story, love seaside imagery.

    keep it up.

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