To the edge,
to the edge,
In a moment,
with a force,
ropes are cut,
and wind flows.
The steps are heard,
the gazelle runs,
and with a bound,
there’s the sea.
first a rush,
then the thought,
then the hush,
the rocks below,
the sea does flow,
the wind does blow,
and eyes do close.
A time so long,
a time so short,
the fog comes in,
and thoughts flow out.
In the distance,
a light does shine,
a flash of hope,
or a storm to come?
The eyes open,
the sea is far,
a glance is made,
but what is sought?
A bird coasts down,
escaping foggy gales,
it just keeps low,
making no outcry,
The bird does wait for eyes,
to say the word it seeks,
and then it will so sound,
the song it knows to play.
The word is said,
timid eyes see.
This poem is about a man asking a woman out on a date via a text message. The man and woman have known each other for some period of time (months) and the man is finally ready to ask her out. The symbolism in the poem is of a man jumping off a cliff to dive into the sea. That is him, “taking the plunge”, so to speak, and asking the woman out.
In the first stanza, the man is holding his phone. He wants to send the text message but is afraid. He almost types it, but then stops. He repeats this twice. This is symbolized in the poem by the man walking to the edge of a cliff that is above the sea. His intention is to dive into the water, but he has trepidation. He walks to the edge, but then moves back.
In the second stanza, the man makes the decision to type the message. Symbolically, it is like the man was away from the cliff’s edge, tangled in ropes. He decides, in a moment of decision to cut the ropes and run toward the cliff’s edge. His hope is that he will be moving so fast and with such determination that he will not have time to think about it and be afraid.
In the third stanza, the man runs and pushes off and jumps from the cliff. In the fourth stanza (considering each section after a line break to be a stanza) the man is over the cliff. He looks down and sees the sea. This symbolizes the man sending the text message.
In the fifth stanza, the man is experiencing a sense of many emotions after the text message has been sent. This is symbolized by the man falling from the cliff.
At first, the man feels a sense of excitement after he sends the message (first a rush). In the poem, this is the rush of first falling from the cliff.
Then he worries that the woman will say no to his request (then the thought). In the poem, this is a moment of rethinking the decision to jump from the cliff, after the jump has happened.
The man becomes speechless (then the hush). This same silence is symbolized as the man is falling.
The man contemplates the woman saying no (the rocks below) and the woman saying yes (the sea does flow).
He realizes that things are out of his control (the wind does blow – In other words the wind will blow the man and that will determine if he will land on the rocks or the water. This symbolizes the idea that the woman will respond however she wants.) He finally decides to just not think and just to go with what happens (and eyes do close).
In the sixth stanza, the man is waiting for a response. He feels the time is long (A time so long), but also realizes that it is actually going to be relatively short (a time so short). Symbolically, this idea is reflected in how time feels as the man falls from the cliff.
Also in the sixth stanza, the man feels a range of thoughts as he waits. This is symbolized by fog coming in as the man falls.
In the seventh stanza, the man sees a response on his phone. He does not know what it says, but he knows it is there. This is symbolized in the poem as the man seeing a light in the distance as he falls.
In the eighth stanza, the man wonders if the reply is good (a flash of hope) or bad (a storm to come). This is symbolized as the man wondering if the light he sees while falling is something good or lightening from a storm.
In the ninth stanza, the man opens the message, but looks away. He is scared about what it might say. He is in some way expecting that it will be negative. He is bracing himself. Symbolically, this is the man glancing toward the light that is far off. The idea that he hopes for a positive response, but expects a negative one, is shown by the question, but what it sought?.
In the tenth stanza, the man is still contemplating the message. It is there, on his phone, in front of him, but he has not read it. The message, in the poem, is symbolically carried by a bird. The scene is that the man is somehow floating in midair beside the cliff and the bird flies up to him carrying the message.
In the eleventh stanza, the message is sitting on the phone, unread. The man is still finding the courage to read it. In the poem, symbolically, the bird is waiting to sing a song that is the message.
In the last stanza, the man reads the message and finds out if the woman will go out on a date with him. Whether she says yes or no, isn’t said in the poem. In the poem, symbolically, the man indicates to the bird that he wants to know the message.
One interesting point about the poem, is that although the man dived off the cliff, he never actually makes it to the water. By the end of the poem he is suspended in the air. Once the man finds out the result of the message, he will finish going down by the cliff.
This poem has quite a few form elements. Including form elements was one of the considerations in writing the poem.
In the first stanza, there are repeats. Lines one and two are repeats and lines three and four are repeats.
In the second stanza, each of the lines has three words.
The fourth stanza is indented fifty spaces.
In the fifth stanza, lines two and four rhyme. Lines five, six, and seven also rhyme.
In the sixth stanza, lines one and two end in antonyms (long/short) as do lines three and four (in/out). Also, lines one and two both start with a time so.
In the seventh and eighth stanzas, indentions are used.
In the ninth stanza, each line has four syllables.
The tenth stanza has words that start with progressive letters of the alphabet (For example, A bird coasts down, is a b c d). It goes through the letters a – u.
The eleventh stanza is written in iambic trimeter.
All of the stanzas are separated by line breaks.
Do you like poems with explanations?
M. Sakran’s self-published book of poems with explanations called Understanding: poems with explanations is available for purchase as an eBook for an available price of $0.99. Buy your copy today!
To help celebrate the self-publication of this book, there is a post series of poems with explanations on the blog. Above is a poem with an explanation for the series. This poem with an explanation (as well as the rest in the series) is not from the book. It is a different one that is part of this post series for readers to read and enjoy.