|English: The diving observation platform at Chwarel Vivian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Adolfo Speaks of...Fear; Your Fear May Be Another
type, But His Words Speak For Us...
Fear of Diving
Adolph (Adolfo) Caso
In admiration of those,
High on protruding platforms
And without signs of fear,
Await their single moment of lift
Before their graceful swan-dives
Establish new beauty in motion
At the point
When their arms
Extend their hands into one point
And break the surface of the water
With hardly a splash,
Before the water invigorates their bodies
Being pushed towards the surface
For the needed gulps of air
From floating bubbles,
In gaining another level of freedom.
My eyes in awe of their beauty,
I am left wonderingly envious
Whether each motion is captured
By the divers, conscious of their feat
And free from the fear of diving,
Or whether I am destined
To live with the beauty of each image
Deep in my psyche,
Having to endure one paroxysm after another,
Each paralyzing every cell of my body,
Leaving my eyes transfixed
As if I were a remnant
Of the Petrified Forest.
I try stepping onto a diving platform,
I am seized by an unexplainable fear
That quickly drives me away
Into a chair
Solidly nailed to the floor
By sledge hammers
Pounding into my brain
As if I were in a catatonic state
Living in the House of Usher--
Doomsday written all over my face!
The single but scar-less dive
Onto the rocky-bottom of the waterhole
Left behind by a recent rainstorm,
When only ten
With my nude companions
As though we had seen water
For the first time in our lives?
Both easy and convenient,
The explanation gives me
Does it assuage
This compulsive desire
Of wanting to dive,
On one hand
And being repulsed
By the very platform
That can make it possible.
This fear is in my DNA.
It is real and resolute,
Stubborn and recalcitrant,
Contradictive and unfair!
Why the two poles in this single human being?
Why the seed of this desire
That cannot be concomitantly fulfilled--
Is it just for me and within me--
This duality of poles destined
To never meet?
This un-placating desire cannot continue
Even it means
Overcoming death’s soul,
Succumbing to it.
If I must,
I will have to dive into its soul
Regardless of consequences
To my own!
With my back to the wall,
Kids running around,
Jumping or diving into the pool at will,
My eyes are intent
On one young man
Diving off of the high board,
To the few others on the middle board
And to the several more on the lowest--
Me, un-envious of their feats,
Feeling compelled to challenge my foe,
I decide to take the first step
Of resolving it,
One way or another:
Life bound to freedom
Or death to unchain my soul!
With my secret, deep within,
I make my way
Past strangers and friends
To the young ones in line for their dives.
Two young girls ahead of me
Take theirs, as free spirits,
Without one thought of fear for themselves
Or awareness of the cross I am bearing.
With others behind me,
I am forced either to stay in line
Or give cowardice my face!
On the plank,
My feet turn into lead
As I approach its edge.
“Dive!” a voice comes from behind.
The surface of the water defying my eyes,
Into a diving bomb noisily splashing the surface,
To the vociferous praise of friends’
Approving the result
Completely opposite of my intentions.
I feel my body stiffer,
As it paralyzes my soul’s image
In pending death.
My spectral self reveals itself
Through translucent eyes
Seen and felt only by me.
After a pause,
I walk myself back again
As if I were an automaton
Receiving orders from a virtual command post
But, not beyond
In every breathing heart
Of every human being
Onto every spark
Of light-giving life!
I am determined
Hands clasped together
As in the point of a javelin
On a desired trajectory,
Unconcerned on where it will land!
My feet heavy as lead at the edge of the platform,
Head first, and maybe gracelessly,
I plunge into the pool
Of water with hardly a splash--
Into water that never seemed as refreshing
And life-restoring as at this moment!
I return to my corner
And without anyone saying a word
On the secret accomplishment
Of having gained freedom,
By overcoming fear.
Joy at last!
Now, diving on the middle platform,
My body turns to the left,
With my arms stretched out
Before closing to the point on entering the water,
My movements are as smooth
As those of birds on the high seas
Diving to catch their meals below
Neither knowing the aesthetics of their dives
Nor the existence of fear.
Confidence in hand,
The highest platform remains the challenge.
Unaware of time
The universe were reduced
Into the presence of a single moment
Of- or in-time,
I stand at the edge of the platform
In deep silence,
My eyes looking ahead
Not daring to look down.
Somewhere in space without an azimuth
A trumpet calls retreat.
Losing consciousness, I fall into the pool,
Unaware of my body’s aesthetics
Or form of entry into the water.
Buoyed to the surface
I hear the last refrain of the trumpet:
Day’s done; another day’s ahead.
Finally, I no longer need to dive
The fear that has haunted my soul
Now belongs to yesterday!
And though the sound of the retreat
Is reverberating in all the cells of my body,
My newly gained passport
Is already hearing the sounds
The bugle calling me
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