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Updated on September 30, 2012

he posed rigidly, arms extended,

a private crucifix at the top

of the cliff

a lifetime below, the beckoning waves

pulsed into the echoing rocks--

rhythmic crash and foam and swirling bitter salt

ascending to the motionless cross far


the wind ceaseless, buffeting,

drying and cracking his lips,

rocking his quivering body

forcing him

to grip the jagged rocks

claw-like, toes trickling blood

how many times

had he climbed to the brink of this cliff?

how many times

had he climbed down from the brink,

averting the calm burning eyes?

the old man who always knew

when he would be on the cliff,

who was always there

with him

a long journey from the other side

for such an old man

perhaps, perhaps today--

he heard the voice--

he would finally

enter gravity to triumph

over falling--perhaps today

he would swoop


eagle and dove

and fall ascending to

the shifting magic of the waves--

perhaps today.

© clark cook


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    • moonfroth profile imageAUTHOR

      Clark Cook 

      6 years ago from Vancouver ara, British Columbia, Canada

      Ann -- you get it, don't you? what a fine response!

    • profile image

      Margaret Ann Waddicor 

      6 years ago

      The moment before,

      the moment before the dive,

      the moment before the dive

      into the unknown,

      breaking the gravity barrier with your bare hands,

      an illustration of ‘saviors of the world,’

      those intrepid matyrs of religious creeds,

      the whole spectrum of life’s rainbow colours

      down there

      in the wild world of the waves,

      tantalisingly beconing

      and yet you hestitiate on the brink,

      such moments come and go through a lifetime,

      and we remember them intensely,

      perhaps the final dive is the last.


    • moonfroth profile imageAUTHOR

      Clark Cook 

      7 years ago from Vancouver ara, British Columbia, Canada

      LILY--I had to 'approve' to kee your comment alive n this thread. I'm stunned. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON!

    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 

      7 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska


    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 

      7 years ago from Lagos

      I saw myself there watching him take a plunge. your words painted clear mental pictures in my mind. lovely

    • moonfroth profile imageAUTHOR

      Clark Cook 

      9 years ago from Vancouver ara, British Columbia, Canada

      Deborah -- Than k you for your kind words. I visited your site--good grief! you ARE prolific! I'm a little crowded right now, but I shall return to enjoy.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      9 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow I love this.. what a poem.. This is a real poem.. I applaud you'


      many blessings


    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 

      9 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

      I love this Moon! I specially visited your site, to see it, and will visit more often, since I've stopped getting prompts from Hub. Oh, how I love water, tenseness, the mind and body of this poem... a great analogy for so many things. You are too brilliant fer yer own good! Love yaz, lily

    • moonfroth profile imageAUTHOR

      Clark Cook 

      9 years ago from Vancouver ara, British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks Hyph --

      The rhythm of the piece should produce a mental comma before "eagle" and after "dove". Also, his intent is to "enter gravity" in "triumph"--but perhsps he might just "fall" after all. Who knows? Grr--poets shouldn't be critics of their own poetry! Only for you. . . .

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      9 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Hello moon. My mind went to the scary world of new things to experience, new steps to take and new issues to learn from or die trying. Leaving home for the first time, a soldier rushing into battle, that type of thing. The old man seems to be the inspiration and encourager that stands with the young diver, a parent, spiritual adviser, etc. One who is always there but never pushing.

      The lines are beautiful. I did have a stumble at "eagle and dove/ and fall ascending to..."

      Should the word be "dive"? As you know, I am not a trained poet, just one who loves the genre so I may be missing it here. Thanks for another lovely read from your pen.

    • moonfroth profile imageAUTHOR

      Clark Cook 

      9 years ago from Vancouver ara, British Columbia, Canada

      Bob -- thanks for having another look. What you take from the poem is very much your own, and your "sense" of the imagery is quite rooted in the language of the poem, so that's good too. One level on my mind as I wrote the poem was a man fixated on a particular act, which he's never had the courage to fulfill. A figure from his past encourages but never helps. Maybe this time he can do it. . .

    • diogenes profile image


      9 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi Clark. Well, the first things that came to mind were the cliff divers at La Quebrada in Acapulco. The scene is like the inlet there, very dangerous. But then I saw a strong hidden meaning in the poem of the protagonist wanting yet avoiding surrender and death. Is that what you had in mind?


    • moonfroth profile imageAUTHOR

      Clark Cook 

      9 years ago from Vancouver ara, British Columbia, Canada

      @ diogenes

      Bob, I've had trouble getting a handle on this poem. I've edited it a lot. Would you mind reading it again? Tell me what you think of Version 2. Many thanks.

    • diogenes profile image


      9 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Mesmerizing, Clark. No doubt the "dive" you thankfully avoided recently is still on your mind...let him wait!



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