In September 2009 I was invited by the then Managing Editor of Black Dog Books, Karen Tayleur, to submit a piece of prose or poetry for the anthology, Short and Scary, which was published in April this year to raise funds for the Big Brother Big Sister Organisation.
This poem – Don’t Jump – made it into the anthology along with works by Andy Griffiths, Shaun Tan and Carole Wilkinson.
With summer upon us it’s a cautionary tale for boys who dare to think that they rule.
Don’t jump! yells Greg
Echoes the signs we all ignore,
Put up by the old farts who run the town.
What a girl! We call back at him
Lifting our bodies from the bridge
And into air, pulling our knees and heads
Into our chests and
For a moment freeze…
Still curled hit the water.
Stings like hell then sink in black and cold.
Stretch out. Reach up.
And up…..And up……..
Break through the water, breathe.
But something has my legs.
Arms reach for sun. Fingers barely pierce the surface.
Pulled down. Can’t see. Too dark.
Tired from kicking this thing
That’s tackling harder than a player in a rugby game.
Sight clears. Eyes focus.
Too strong. Give in.