Alternative to "not waving but drowning"
August 27, 2019 2:13 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on a water-related creative project, and I love the sentiment of Stevie Smith's Not Waving But Drowning. Unfortunately, so do lots of other people (so there are lots of other projects of the same type which use this title). Is there another creative work that references drowning in a similar way?
posted by lizifer to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Elizabeth Bishop ‘s
The boy stood on the burning deck
Trying to recite “The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck”
posted by clew at 2:25 PM on August 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

Not exactly a creative work, but Carl Jung once said of James Joyce and his troubled daughter Lucia that they were ''like two people going to the bottom of a river, one falling and the other diving.'' Quoted here, for example.
posted by otio at 2:47 PM on August 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

The drowning girls club?
posted by JJZByBffqU at 2:51 PM on August 27, 2019

Have you read Virginia Woolf? Specifically, A Room of One's Own? She filled her pockets with stones and drowned.
posted by theora55 at 2:52 PM on August 27, 2019

Peter Greenaway's film "Drowning by Numbers" is all about game rules and many of the characters drowning.
posted by effluvia at 4:01 PM on August 27, 2019

“The Castaway” by William Cowper.
posted by GeorgieYeats at 4:17 PM on August 27, 2019

There are always the gorgeous lines of The Tempest from which to select a phrase --

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
posted by nantucket at 4:26 PM on August 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

My favourite poem, “This is a photograph of me” by Margaret Atwood

It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
you will be able to see me.)
posted by saucysault at 4:43 PM on August 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

Single frame cartoon: "Drowning man not wanting to a bother." He has his hand up in 'excuse me' mode.
posted by ovvl at 5:10 PM on August 27, 2019

Billy Collins has a poem called the Art of Drowning, maybe some lines there will have some inspiration?
posted by carlypennylane at 9:13 PM on August 27, 2019

If song lyrics would work, Florence + the Machine uses a lot of water and drowning imagery- eg.

Never Let Me Go

What the Water Gave Me
posted by Dwardles at 12:22 AM on August 28, 2019

Shipwrecked Blues by Clara Smith has one of my favourite lyrics: “Oh, I don't mind drowning, but the water is so cold”.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:37 AM on August 28, 2019

Last lines of Prufrock? “Till human voices wake us and we drown.”
posted by LizardBreath at 4:18 AM on August 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

Kirsty MacColl's Innocence?
posted by MuChao at 10:07 AM on August 28, 2019

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