The Art Of Drowning Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


I wonder how it all got started this businessA
about seeing your life flash before your eyesB
while you drown as if panic or the act of submergenceC
could startle time into such compression crushingD
decades in the vice of your desperate final secondsE
After falling off a steamship or being swept awayF
in a rush of floodwaters wouldn't you hopeG
for a more leisurely review an invisible handH
turning the pages of an album of photographsI
you up on a pony or blowing out candles in a conic hatJ
How about a short animated film a slide presentationK
Your life expressed in an essay or in one model photographL
Wouldn't any form be better than this sudden flashM
Your whole existence going off in your faceN
in an eyebrow singeing explosion of biographyO
nothing like the three large volumes you envisionedP
Survivors would have us believe in a brillianceC
here some bolt of truth forking across the waterQ
an ultimate Light before all the lights go outR
dawning on you with all its megalithic tonnageS
But if something does flash before your eyesB
as you go under it will probably be a fishT
a quick blur of curved silver darting awayF
having nothing to do with your life or your deathU
The tide will take you or the lake will accept it allV
as you sink toward the weedy disarray of the bottomW
leaving behind what you have already forgottenK
the surface now overrun with the high travel of cloudsX

Billy Collins


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