The Dive

One hot summer's day

I stroked out from the coral beach

To a high rock in the small bay

With intent to dive


The pocked outcrop was easy to climb

From the water surface.

The tide was high

The sea like crystal

Visibility clear.

I raised myself on to the rock

And peered down

Deep to the bottom

As into a glass of water

And could not judge its depth.

But I did not worry -

The bottom was not my objective.

Just the thrill of the dive

The caress of the sea.

I leapt

Cutting the air

With unaccustomed skill.

I slid into the sea like a bullet

And shot cleanly

Pure of line


Deeper and deeper.

And still, the floor of rippled sand

Seemed to move away from me.

Finally I slowed

My heart pumping


I glanced up - high - high

To the surface of the sea -

The sun-dancing mouth of the sea

And air.


I felt a surge of sickening panic

An overwhelming need to cry out

In fear

But my brain snapped harshly:

'Now, that would be stupid, wouldn't it?

But – if you stay calm

And keep your mouth shut -

You will rise.

The sea is saline – and bouncy - remember!

You will rise!

Not fast.



So I smothered my panic

With a little prayer of thanks for sanity.

'Oh, God, be with me'

I turned and gave a wee kick

That started me up

My eyes fixed on the sparkling sunlight

So high above.

I trusted physics -


I rose like a weed

In the arms of the salty water

And broke the surface

For air

And life.


I felt like - I was birthed from the sea -

Not with golden hair and budding breasts

Upon a sea shell 

But with purpose

Still to prove.

It was not an experience

Easily forgotten.

Cynthia Buell Thomas, March 17, 2018

◄ Tree

Choking ►


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Stu Buck

Tue 20th Mar 2018 08:57

lovely stuff cynthia. couldnt help but think of maya angelou's 'still i rise' when reading! i was utterly transported by this, you paint such wonderful images

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Candice Reineke

Mon 19th Mar 2018 04:45

Lovely, Cynthia. You had me right there in the deep waters with you, shouting “don’t panic!” 😃

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Sun 18th Mar 2018 21:19

I can well understand the trepidation and the thrill of the dive Cynthia, as I overcame fear of the water at age 28, and did the top board at last. This is an unwinding poem, beginning, a bottom and a top, and takes us all the way spectacularly ! Nice and engaging.


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kJ Walker

Sun 18th Mar 2018 08:25

Hi Cynthia
This brought back memories of being under water, and struggling to work out which way was up. the way you described your dive took the reader along with you, and I nearly found myself holding my breath till you broke the surface.
An enjoyable read.

Cheers Kevin


Sat 17th Mar 2018 16:28

Hi Cynthia,

Love this poem! All those surprises’ life grace us with, so unpleasant but so deeply instructive. Thank you! I will think about it all day long with Guinness. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Anya x

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 17th Mar 2018 16:17

Happy St. Patrick's Day. I trust and value highly my Irish genes, so often 'over the top' but wonderful to exercise. This 'work' has been percolating for years, and today it's gone. Even without apology.

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