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The Lifeguard Analysis

Author: Poetry of James Dickey Type: Poetry Views: 2203

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In a stable of boats I lie still,

From all sleeping children hidden.

The leap of a fish from its shadow

Makes the whole lake instantly tremble.

With my foot on the water, I feel

The moon outsideTake on the utmost of its power.

I rise and go our through the boats.

I set my broad sole upon silver,

On the skin of the sky, on the moonlight,

Stepping outward from earth onto water

In quest of the miracleThis village of children believed

That I could perform as I dived

For one who had sunk from my sight.

I saw his cropped haircut go under.

I leapt, and my steep body flashed

Once, in the sun.Dark drew all the light from my eyes.

Like a man who explores his death

By the pull of his slow-moving shoulders,

I hung head down in the cold,

Wide-eyed, contained, and alone

Among the weeds,And my fingertips turned into stone

From clutching immovable blackness.

Time after time I leapt upward

Exploding in breath, and fell back

From the change in the children's faces

At my defeat.Beneath them I swam to the boathouse

With only my life in my arms

To wait for the lake to shine back

At the risen moon with such power

That my steps on the light of the ripples

Might be sustained.Beneath me is nothing but brightness

Like the ghost of a snowfield in summer.

As I move toward the center of the lake,

Which is also the center of the moon,

I am thinking of how I may be

The savior of oneWho has already died in my care.

The dark trees fade from around me.

The moon's dust hovers together.

I call softly out, and the child's

Voice answers through blinding water.

Patiently, slowly,He rises, dilating to break

The surface of stone with his forehead.

He is one I do not remember

Having ever seen in his life.

The ground I stand on is trembling

Upon his smile.I wash the black mud from my hands.

On a light given off by the grave

I kneel in the quick of the moon

At the heart of a distant forest

And hold in my arms a child

Of water, water, water.


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