Monday 9 September 2019

Poetry Monday: Bodies of Water . . . and Funnies

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ........ BODIES OF WATER.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi and me as we wade, swim, snorkel, row or sail through this topic. (Or possibly something else, something related to my poem, something like, say, hyperventilating . . .)

You're welcome to leave a poem in the comments or on your own blog; if you do the latter, please let us know in the comments so we can find you. Use the topic or choose another; just have fun and flex your brain cells. Ready ... Set ... Go!


Before The Fear . . . And After

I've spent my whole lifetime surrounded by water
Yet I'm more like a feline and less like an otter
By which I mean water is something I hate*
Except in amounts that would fit on a plate

But just for an eyeblink (age eight to eleven)
There was a brief time I thought water was heaven
On hot summer days we'd go down to the river
Myself with my brother, and both with our mither

We played at the edges where polliwogs** grew
Into tiny dear hoppers we looked forward to
We waded and peered at the minnows so fast
They bumped us and tickled whenever they passed

And swimming? We did that, with faces submerged
And sat on the bottom, and breathless emerged
The water was cooling and like an old friend
I wish that the feeling had not had to end

My brother grew up; it was no longer cool
To be with his family or play in our "pool"
My mom was reluctant to take only me,
And I was reluctant to be the "only"

The next time I found myself facing the wet
I found I was frightened - it hasn't changed yet
I've taken those classes - you must know the ones -
For panic-struck adults with panic-struck lungs

They helped but a little; a wuss I remain
And drowning's a nightmare that lives in my brain***
Perhaps this explains, then, my mantra, my path:
Always a shower! Never a bath!****

* I know hate is a strong word, but I needed a one-syllable word for "strongly dislike"
** Did  you know that the polliwog (also known as tadpole) was the hieroglyphic for the number 100,000 in Ancient Egyptian numerals? (according to Wikipedia, anyway)
*** Literally a nightmare - that's when I signed up for the classes for panicky adult swimmers
**** True. I feel queasy getting into a bathtub, so I don't

Also, you know those scuba-diving shows like Jacques Cousteau used to make? I can't watch them without holding my breath and getting anxious.

Imagine, then, wimpy me, living in a province surrounded by water except for an itty-bitty isthmus connecting us to the nearest continent, said isthmus being actually just a piece of swampland, and, with climate change, predicted to be submerged in no time flat ... eeeep ...

This is EXACTLY how I feel when I think of "bodies of water"

 (pic from Pixabay)


Who ever came up with this topic anyway??

Oh, yeah . . . that would be me. *punches self* *but only lightly, because I don't enjoy pain*

I don't know about you, but I need something to take my mind off potential drowning scenarios.

There, I feel much better now. I hope you do, too, and that your week is one where you can breathe deeply (an underrated ability) and avoid nightmares of any kind!

Next week's topic ....... TELL A JOKE ....... Thanks, Diane!


Elephant's Child said...

I grieve for you. My childhood experiences with water were much like yours - and I retained that love.
I gather that before I could walk I simply crawled into bodies of water, and kept crawling.
I really, really love the nightmare quelling (mostly) furry funnies too.

Anonymous said...

Poor sheep dog with its head just above water, to keep it topical. The poem is great and lol at Mither.

dinthebeast said...

I don't swim any more, but I used to like it quite a bit.
Rivers, lakes, pools, all good. That said, I never was OK getting farther out than I could swim back, no matter what size the vessel.
I grew up with a small lake about 50 feet from the deck outside of the dining room. As a small child, I was forbidden from swimming in the lake, which was OK because I couldn't really swim yet.
The shallow end of the lake was teeming with pollywogs, and the frogs would sing us to sleep at night.
I did learn to swim in that lake, though, when my brother found my footprint on a Beatles album on the floor of his room, where I was forbidden to go in the first place, and tossed me right in.

-Doug in Oakland

River said...

I grew up near water too, loved it then and love it now. I'm not a swimmer, more of a splash around having fun type and I love being underwater, even though I can't hold my breath even a minute without coughing because of my asthma.

Marie Smith said...

About water in truth I am here to say
I can sit by the beach and watch it all day.

I prefer by the water, not in It.

I enjoyed your poem immensely!

Red said...

Well, I haven't been swimming for at least 20 years but not because I dislike it. I'm going to go back swimming now when I finish cycling and skating.

bazza said...

This is a tale of my daughter
Who thought she could walk on water.
I really should applaud her,
But I really couldn’t support her.
So she sank and I thought, “That’s taught her!”
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s justly jocular Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

jenny_o said...

You were a water baby! That is amazing. I'm so glad you kept your love for water, EC.

jenny_o said...

Mither was a gamble, and I'm happy it paid off with at least one person, Andrew!

jenny_o said...

Frogs at night - that is a wonderful sound. We lived across the rural road from a farm with a pond, and I fell asleep every summer night to that music, like you did.

Getting tossed into water seems like a radical (and dangerous) solution to sibling problems!

jenny_o said...

I can remember how it felt to be underwater and unafraid, and it really is magical. I wish I could still do it. I'm glad you still enjoy the water.

jenny_o said...

I'll sit beside you, Marie :) That's my idea of a good time near water too!

jenny_o said...

Well, enjoy!

jenny_o said...

Ha ha - good double meaning there, bazza :)

messymimi said...

Grandpa almost drowned when he was a young child and he is also afraid of water and never learned to swim. It's very possible to live in a swampy area and not be able to swim, and never need to.

Thanks for the funnies!

Joanne Noragon said...

I sympathize totally about water.

jenny_o said...

Logically I know that about swampy areas, but try telling my heart that! I feel for your Grandpa.

Glad you liked the funnies :)

jenny_o said...

Hmm - I would never have guessed that, Joanne. But welcome to the club :)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

I understand your fear of the water and have never knowingly gone in water above my shoulders. I am not a good swimmer, but I can float fairly well. At least, I used to be able to do that. I was at a beach last year and only got my feet wet and that was good enough. It was the Pacific and way too cold for this easterner. I do like my bath though.

I loved the picture of the dog among the sheep. I bet many of us can relate to that at some time.

jenny_o said...

I'm a little surprised at how many people - just among readers here - don't love being in the water. I thought I was likely far outnumbered by those who love it. I don't know why I thought that, though. I'm glad to have some company, Arleen! By the way, all outdoor water feels cold to me :)

Steve Reed said...

Interesting! I'm not a huge fan of swimming now, but as a kid I LOVED being in the water. I wonder why the desire to swim lessens as we get older? Self-preservation, or wisdom?

I've never been a fan of DEEP water. Scuba diving, for example, doesn't interest me at all!

I love that "sheepdog," and I totally identify with the Magic Pie Bush! Olga has occasionally found sandwiches in shrubbery beside the sidewalk, and after that, every time we pass, she ALWAYS looks to make sure there's not another one in there!

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

I grew up in a coasal town, and learned how to swim by watching the frogs and dogs swimming in lakes and the sea. I trulu´y feel sorry for you having lost your swimming skills. Water is still a big part of my life.
I loved your poem in spite of the fear.
Ps Mither had me searching the net for solutions - new word learned.

Diane Stringam Tolley said...

Hahahaha! You are SO good at this! You managed to convey--in rhyme--your aversion right down to the quiver. Brilliant!

jenny_o said...

Dogs are really very smart when it comes to remembering where food came from!

I like your explanation about the swimming aversion; I pick both self-preservation AND wisdom! No, seriously, not everyone feels this way, so I have no idea :)

jenny_o said...

How interesting that you learned to swim by watching nature's swimmers - clearly you had good observation skills. I didn't make it clear in the poem (there was a lot I didn't say, because it would be even longer than it was), but I CAN swim, I just don't like getting my head underwater. The water goes right up into my sinuses and then I'm done :)

I hope you found the meaning of mither that I intended - it's a Scottish/Northern English variant of "mother". My own mother used it from time to time; I'm not sure where she learned it. Our family is several generations removed from Europe.

jenny_o said...

Oh! Oh! QUIVER! What a good word that I didn't use but should have - it rhymes with RIVER!

Susan said...

The water is my go to calm place but don't ask me to go above the third rung on a ladder, even that might be pushing it. Do you have power back on? We have been thinking about everyone on the East coast and hoping for the best. I think some of our local firefighters are headed your way to help with clean up. I love how this country pulls together.

jenny_o said...

We only lost power for about 18 hours, but many people still don't have theirs, three days later. We are always grateful for outside help so thank you to your firefighters!

37paddington said...

Poignant poem. Was it just lack of engagement with the water that led to the fear, or did you internalize someone else's fear, I wonder. I almost drowned three times in my childhood. My brother saved me each time. Crazy to think about that. Strangely, I don't fear going to the water (except for how i look in my bathing suit).

jenny_o said...

LOL! I hear you :)

On a serious note, though, I'm glad your brother was able to save you each time you got in trouble in the water. Three times - that's scary.

I think my aversion was a combination of being away from the water plus an incident with an inner tube flipping with me in it during one of the swims near the end of our river-going years. I still remember the panic while I tried to right myself. And even though my family was right there, no one had noticed I was having trouble (but that was probably because it didn't take long, it just felt that way). Brrr! I'm getting a bit freaked out just thinking about it.

John M said...

I'm afraid of swimming too. It must have started when I was very young and a wave swept over me at the beach and pulled me under.

jenny_o said...

I expect you're right - that would have been a frightening shock at any age, let alone as a little child.

Diane Henders said...

Isn't it funny (or unfunny) how our brains suddenly decide to rewire themselves? At least you have happy memories of polliwogs! So do it - we used to swim in our dugout on the farm, and I remember the minnows tickling us, too. Fortunately I haven't lost my enjoyment of swimming.

And 'lipstick bird' made me LOL! I'm makeup-impaired, so that's probably how my lipstick would look if I attempted it, too. ;-)

baili said...

this is such an interesting post loaded with fun sharing dear Jenny
and your poem must win all the awards today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

excellently done ! i enjoyed it thoroughly :)))

each line was that i could relate with times i had fear for deep water though i used to swim with my girlfriends in village stream in childhood
still as i grew i developed phobia for sinking and i thought mostly it was result of common floods in surrounding in summers and distractions by them

i felt relief when finally i visited Karachi beach and sea and walked quite further alone ,it was good to know that i lost that phobia eventually

i so loved your poem dear Jenny and i am late because here we had four religious holidays and family was home so i found quite bit of time to be with my laptop
each funny is so cleverly picked and makes me smile or laugh specially poor sheep dog and lipstick bird lol
sending so much love and best wishes for days ahead my friend!

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Mither as a Scottish/Northern English variant of "mother" was indeed the one I ended up with :) the other definitions did not suit either you or the poem.

jenny_o said...

Yay! Good :)

jenny_o said...

I'd love to see those little polliwogs and the little jumpy things they turned into, once more. They were incredibly small and I don't know if they were a kind of frog or a kind of toad.

Makeup-impaired describes me, too :D

jenny_o said...

I think flooding would cause most people to be wary of the water; it's very understandable that you would have some fears related to that. I'm glad you can enjoy the beach and the sea now!

I'm happy you enjoyed the funnies! Thank you for your good wishes, and the same back to you, dear friend :)