famous poetry
| Famous Poetry | Roleplay | Free Video Tutorials | Online Poetry Club | Free Education | Best of Youtube | Ear Training

Not Waving But Drowning Analysis



Author: Poetry of Stevie Smith Type: Poetry Views: 2875

Not Waving But DrowningNobody heard him, the dead man,

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought

And not waving but drowning.Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he's dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,

They said.Oh, no no no, it was too cold always

(Still the dead one lay moaning)

I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.






Sponsor


122 Free Video Tutorials

[Video Tutorial] How to build google chrome extensions

Please add me on youtube. I make free educational video tutorials on youtube such as Basic HTML and CSS.

Free Online Education from Top Universities

Yes! It's true. Online College Education is now free!



||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

I found all these interpretations of her poem interesting with the varying takes on the same idea. When I read it, probably because I connected it to my own life, I thought of a metaphor for someone being pushed too hard in life and ending up beyond their ability where no one else can see the struggle, only how far that person is and when they finally broke under the pressure and \"died\" or failed, everyone assumes it was just the one time, not that it was always a struggle.

| Posted on 2013-01-03 | by a guest


.: :.

i wanna its summary , for my accademic use
please sent on my x

| Posted on 2012-07-08 | by a guest


.: :.

is is the poem of my life...
Nobody heard him, the dead man, - Even though he was there, showing his feelings in quiet ways, everyone was almost trying not to see what he was showing, because his family and friends were hiding from the truth.
But he still lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought,
And not waving but drowning. - He really wanted to be helped, he wanted to be heard, especially in his time or urgent need. Since it says \"still lay moaning\" it shows that he had been trying to show his pain for a long time, but he was hiding behind false emotions with hidden meanings.
Poor chap, He always loved larking- this is written in a different point of view, what I think is the point of view of his family and friends, trying to convince themselves that it\'s not their fault. They think - but don\'t fully believe- that he was normally happy and bubbly.
And now he\'s dead- He\'s gone, and not coming back. A short and sweet sentence, showing pain and remorse, but trying to hide it. (Still in the style of friends and family.)
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.- They (family and friends) are trying to convince themselves that he died of a natural cause, or a sudden, stupid, overreaction to a bad feeling.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always - if he died from being upset, he was always upset. It shows that the peers were stubborn, or that they had got used to the fact he was depressed, so they thought nothing of it.
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning. - Even in death, he still felt his pain, and regretted not telling anyone of it

| Posted on 2011-12-01 | by a guest


.: :.

To the man who post under the author\'s name.. how did you post this 30 years after your death ?

| Posted on 2011-10-10 | by a guest


.: :.

Retards, Its about my brother who died. stop making up hidden messages, I was just telling a story.
-Stevie Smith

| Posted on 2011-04-03 | by a guest


.: :.

A very clever poem that, through metaphor, accurately reflects how many people with mental health problems actually feel trapped.
When my younger daughter died there was a copy of Stevie Smith\'s poem among her papers. She was very much of a live wire, organizing social events at work, etc. She was always the first on the dance floor, and was known for wearing the most outrageous fancy dress. (Her behaviour in this matter was typified by her final request – six black horse to pull the hearse.) But her extrovet exuberance hid deep depressive moments – where she was haunted by the memory of her sister – who had killed herself years before. There can be little doubt that she could identify with the “dead man”.
Although I am a very different individual I feel much the same about the message in the poem. With both my daughters killing themselves I have built up a thick skin ...
“Poor Chap he always liked larking”
... to try and control my emotion (and hide my depression) in public
“I was much further out than you thought”
.
And when I feel I need help to combat depressive thoughts the option of completely dropping the protective shell is too frightful to contemplate so I just “wave” a few words to say I might appreciate a little help.
And as everyone knows how tough I am they can\'t imagine that, within that thick skin, I am in danger of “drowning” in depression – and merely give a courtesy wave back.
As she had mental health problems herself I am sure that this poem reflected her own feelings about the wat the world treats people whith mental health problems.

| Posted on 2010-08-07 | by a guest


.: :.

This is the poem of my life...
Nobody heard him, the dead man, - Even though he was there, showing his feelings in quiet ways, everyone was almost trying not to see what he was showing, because his family and friends were hiding from the truth.
But he still lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought,
And not waving but drowning. - He really wanted to be helped, he wanted to be heard, especially in his time or urgent need. Since it says "still lay moaning" it shows that he had been trying to show his pain for a long time, but he was hiding behind false emotions with hidden meanings.
Poor chap, He always loved larking- this is written in a different point of view, what I think is the point of view of his family and friends, trying to convince themselves that it's not their fault. They think - but don't fully believe- that he was normally happy and bubbly.
And now he's dead- He's gone, and not coming back. A short and sweet sentence, showing pain and remorse, but trying to hide it. (Still in the style of friends and family.)
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.- They (family and friends) are trying to convince themselves that he died of a natural cause, or a sudden, stupid, overreaction to a bad feeling.
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always - if he died from being upset, he was always upset. It shows that the peers were stubborn, or that they had got used to the fact he was depressed, so they thought nothing of it.
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning. - Even in death, he still felt his pain, and regretted not telling anyone of it.
I wrote this as if it was a real person dying, it shows how I am feeling in perfect description.
This poem is a poem of genius!

| Posted on 2010-06-21 | by a guest


.: :.

-ALL- interpretations are uniquely interesting. Just ONE additional fact to consider.
Stuart Adamson (The brilliant Founder/Singer/Guitarist for the Scottish rock band Big Country)actually wrote a song inspired by THIS poem. Entitled of course "Not Waving But Drowning". He even interjects bits of the original poem by Stevie Smith in the lyrics.
Adamson (beloved by fans the world-over) committed suicide in Dec. of 2001 after the breakup of his second marriage which was turbulent and short. Prior to his death, he had demonstrated signs of "reaching out"..i.e...frequent AWOL solo travels where he's presumed "missing" by friends and family, drinking heavily, and so on..ALL during and AFTER his second marriage went south.
Just an observation, but the correlations between the circumstances of Stuart Adamson's death and most of the analysis' on this page of Stevie Smith's poem are eerily similar. Also, eerily appropriate. Again, JUST AN OBSERVATION.

| Posted on 2010-04-15 | by a guest


.: :.

I believe this poem is about a person who is crying out to be saved by loved ones. The loved ones only see what they want to see. I think that because it says "still the dead man lays moaning" that he is technically not dead. He can still be saved but his friends are oblivious to the fact that there is a problem in the mans life. His friends see what they want to see: a happy, joking man. In reality he has always been out of control. This just didn't happen because one incident. When it says "It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
They believe that it just so happens his heart gave away in the cold water. But the man interjects and says "it was too cold always" This means that it wasn't just an incident that pushed him over the edge. He had always been on the edge begging for help but his loved ones wouldn't save him. They believed that he perfectly stable, once meaning that they only saw what they wanted to see. They couldn't see reality because they assured each other that he was okay and just joking around. Because Smith mentions that he always loved larking, she implies that even when he is basically dead on the inside they will always believe that he is okay and that something just snapped him over the edge. In reality his loved ones are the death of him because they won't acknowledge his problem even though he is moaning. From of the start the man i labeled dead even though he still lay moaning. This implies that his loved ones could still save him, but because of their indifference he will die, and the truth will never be known. He knows that he is over the edge "Not waving but drowning"
This poem reminds me of a person whos either suicidal or has a serious emotional problem. It reminded me a lot of how I felt when a OLD MAN messed with me when I was asleep. I couldn't tell anyone, but the signs were all there. Instead I just died away inside and everyone assumed that I was just fine. The sad thing is neither I nor the dead man were hiding our feelings. We were reaching out in subtle ways, but our loved onnes assumed we were okay. Really we were both drowning. Breathing underwater.
the only difference is the man depended on his friends to pull him through. They were his only option, but I had enough will power and knowledge of self to pull through.
sorry it wasn't written very well.

| Posted on 2009-12-08 | by a guest


.: :.

I love this poem ....it is quite clearly about someone who felt "too far out" all their life ...they did not fit in with the expectations of them and trying to live up to them pushed them under until they drowned.
They had probably, when ever asked, said they would be fine and just moaned in jest, brushing everything off but in actual fact they were becoming further and futher out ... treading water becoming harder and harder until they could not do it any more. Their drive and passion for life gave way (their heart)to the pressure and they gave into the call of death as a form of release.

| Posted on 2009-11-24 | by a guest


.: :.

It seems to me that Not Waving But Drowning is not necessarily about someone drowning. It is about dying; however, it is more about people who are asking for help in their everyday lives, not just a man who has swam too far out. You know those people, the ones who just seem to be saying hello but in reality it is there feeble attempt at asking for help. These people are much farther out than you thought, they seem fine but they are farther gone than you would think. Most often the people who need help the most are the ones who seem to need it least. They seem to love, like the drowning man larking. Quite often you would not even speculate that something was amiss. These people feel that the world is to cold and eventually they give up - or their heart[s] [give] way. They are quite often, like the drowning man, too far out but they time you know there is a struggle.
The man in the poems plight reminds me of that of Mercutio. He, like the drowning man, was the clown or fool of the group. When he gets fatally wounded, he jokes about it. a scratch, a scratch and not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door was Mercutios reply when asked if he was alright. Being the jokester or the group no on thought anything of it. He then precedes to die. Perhaps this was the drowning mans plight, perhaps his friends all thought he was joking around and thought he was joking - until it was too late.
- Cassie McCollum

| Posted on 2009-10-25 | by a guest


.: :.

I think this is about the ambiguity between crying for joy and crying for help! How far do you let someone cry for help, thinking it's crying for joy before you ask them what they are crying for. For some, it's too late!!

| Posted on 2009-09-05 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem to me is about a guy who everybody thought was a happy-go-lucky joker of the group, and so nobody took his cries for help, his waving, seriously, until it was too late, and even when he has gone, they still don't understand him, 'was much further out than you thought' and he is still being taken too superficially, and not being heard because of his reputation as a happy guy who couldn't be depressed or in need of help. Its sad.

| Posted on 2009-07-13 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem to me is about a guy who everybody thought was a happy-go-lucky joker of the group, and so nobody took his cries for help, his waving, seriously, until it was too late, and even when he has gone, they still don't understand him, 'was much further out than you thought' and he is still being taken too superficially, and not being heard because of his reputation as a happy guy who couldn't be depressed or in need of help.

| Posted on 2009-07-13 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem is about the impossibility of communication. It deals with trying to convey meaning to someone and that person getting a completely different meaning out of it. It is post-modern view on language and its shortcomings, especially when trying to communicate intangible experiences.

| Posted on 2009-05-05 | by a guest


.: :.

I dont think it is realistic for a person to get confused to someone signaling out for help for to merely waving to him. He was probably ment to let him die for revenge to get him back at something he did in the past.

| Posted on 2009-04-30 | by a guest


.: :.

stevie smith's not waving but drowning is the story of a man struggling through life. i believe that the author intends to have the reder reflect on the mans life and learn from it. i found deeper meaning in the poem by seeing it as a representation of intertwining journeys through life.

| Posted on 2009-04-05 | by a guest


.: :.

i thought it was about a man reflecting on his quality of life before committing suicide and the effect that his suicide had on the world afterward.
it starts out very dismal and sad and reflecting and ends with an apathetic reconciliaton (spell check :) about his participation in life.

| Posted on 2009-03-19 | by a guest


.: :.

In Stevie Smiths Poem titled Not Waving but Drowning, I found that the theme of the poem is a man that is overtaken by alcoholism and/or drug use. Where he is actually calling for help, but no one can save him. I think the poem shows imagery of a man drowning, and someone being too far away to swim out and save him. But what I interpreted was that maybe the poem is a metaphor for someone that is too far into alcoholism or drug use and they cannot be saved and they are going to die. Particularly, I think it is about alcohol, because it says he is drowning, as if someone were to drown themselves in alcohol. I think the poem is of a man looking down from heaven at his dead body saying, Nobody heard him, the dead man. In order for him to be dead already, and to be talking of his own dead body, he could only be reliving his own death threw someone elses eyes. So I imagine in my mind a man looking down from heaven watching his body die. I think the writer is referring to himself as being beyond being saved, but he is still crying for help. When I read, I was much farther out than you thought. I think that the person he refers to as you, would be the person that he drank his alcohol with, and he is saying, I was a lot drunker than you thought I was. Then it goes on to say for the first time, Not waving but drowning. Which to me, it is said sarcastically, in a sense that he is crying out for help, but no one believes him because in the next line it goes on to say; Poor chap, he always loved larking and now hes dead they said. This is obviously what the people were saying about him after his death. So I interpret this man as being a person that pulled lots of jokes, and some of the jokes were about him either being dead or dying. He was a man that had lots of fun. So back to the part after now hes dead, it says, It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way. I think that this is a metaphor that means, he was too drunk and he died from alcohol poising. When they, the people standing over his dead body, say he must have been too cold, I think that means he must have been too drunk. That is the part that kind of pulls the poem together and gives it meaning. But then the resolution comes and it says, Oh, no no no, it was too cold always. I interpret this is saying that he was always drinking and that its no ones fault but his own. Then it goes on to say, (Still the dead lay moaning). The reason for the parenthesis is because it is just referring back to the beginning where he is speaking from his soul in heaven looking down on his dead body and now he is speaking with such a sad tone, that he had from the beginning. I think he is blaming himself for his death by saying I was much too far out all my life. He feels repent and guilt for his death because he was the one to make the decision to pick up the bottle and drink. Maybe he feels like he left too early and he didnt get to finish what he wanted to in life. The poem uses imagery about his death as drowning. If you imagine what it would be like to drown, you might imagine yourself having a good time in the water with your friends and you float too far away for someone to save you, and you are slowly dying. He was slowly becoming addicted to the things that kill him and the more he drank the farther out he swam. So the metaphor to me is talking about a death of habit. Thats why I believe that when he says once again, and not waving but drowning, it symbolizes, this time, that he was dying every time he drank, that he was swimming farther and farther away from the group. That he wasnt waving, having a good time, and playing a joke his whole life, but he was drowning, killing himself slowly. .

| Posted on 2009-01-23 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem is disceptively easy.it is a truly brilliant poem,a lot of thought went into it.
posted by:joseph johnston(the comment below was also posted by me!)

| Posted on 2008-12-21 | by a guest


.: :.

In summary,Not Waving But Drowning tells us the real identity of a person when the mask is taken off,in otherwords,it shows a what a person is really like deep inside.You have to look under the surface of the poem to really understand it and to appreciate its meaning.

| Posted on 2008-12-03 | by a guest


.: Analysis :.

When you first read this poem you might think that Stevie Smith is writing of a man drowning in cold deep water faraway from shore with his friends happily waving at him thinking he is just waving back. But when you look at the poem more closely and figuratively the poems meaning totally changes. Thinking about the poem literally is reading the obvious a man drowning in the water. But then looking at the diction of the poem the words and meaning of the poem start to change. The meaning of drowning means that he is drowning in work and getting depressed. Not literally drowning in the water. The sentence It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way. It doesnt really mean that the freezing water made his heart stop or anything but figuratively it means life was too cold or sad for him so his heart finally died towards others so he didnt have love or feelings towards anybody. Poor chap he always loved larking means he fooled around with his friends being the funny guy of the group. But really he could be covering up his real sorrow towards life by doing crazy stuff and getting drunk. I was too far out my whole life and not waving but drowning. This line is a very sad tone of a sad man speaking of his life saying he was sad and depressed his whole life and not really waving to his friends but dieing internally. On last thing that can help you understand the poem is when the writer says still the dead one lay moaning. Dead people dont moan especially when submerged under water. It means he was moaning about his whole life.

| Posted on 2008-01-30 | by a guest




Post your Analysis




Message

Free Online Education from Top Universities

Yes! It's true. College Education is now free!







Most common keywords

Not Waving But Drowning Analysis Stevie Smith critical analysis of poem, review school overview. Analysis of the poem. literary terms. Definition terms. Why did he use? short summary describing. Not Waving But Drowning Analysis Stevie Smith Characters archetypes. Sparknotes bookrags the meaning summary overview critique of explanation pinkmonkey. Quick fast explanatory summary. pinkmonkey free cliffnotes cliffnotes ebook pdf doc file essay summary literary terms analysis professional definition summary synopsis sinopsis interpretation critique Not Waving But Drowning Analysis Stevie Smith itunes audio book mp4 mp3 mit ocw Online Education homework forum help



Poetry 200
Poetry 160
Poetry 158
Poetry 9
Poetry 24
Poetry 48
Poetry 115
Poetry 110
Poetry 105
Poetry 84
Poetry 76
Poetry 66
Poetry 21
Poetry 95
Poetry 8
Poetry 90
Poetry 126
Poetry 20
Poetry 207
Poetry 65