You know, we float better in salt water

After David Park, Two Bathers, 1958 (SFMOMA), oil pastel drawing by William Eaton, 7 April 2018In the 1980s I heard that a psychotherapist had said to a patient

In tears, on the verge of a nervous breakdown – feeling better grounded

Would take time; it would be like turning an ocean liner around.

 

I always liked that idea and understood that it could apply to any one of us

And certainly to me with my increasingly sensitive hearing and frazzled heart,

But I did not understand that it might also involve cutting back, time set apart

 

For trimming the engines, within me and – how? – slipping away from all the corporate machines

With their electronic networks spying and surveilling – autonomy trampled –

Selling connections, sometimes called friends, just to get us more entangled.

 

Slowly but surely, like a marine biologist helping a trapped and uninteresting fish

Escape from his nets, I have been cutting the strings, freeing myself to swim again

All alone – are there any other swimmers? – and I’m headed, of course, for the deep end.

 

And yet, as I keep cutting and setting apart – or is it As the Boat Turns?

I’m at sea, in any case, and greatly enjoying the learning, the getting free.
 

—Poem and drawing (after David Park’s Two Bathers) by William Eaton


Now available from Amazon: Art, Sex, Politics

Art, Sex, Politics cover from AmazonIn a new, provocative collection of essays, William Eaton, the author of Surviving the Twenty-First Century, shares the pleasures of questions, tastes, reading and more visual arts. “That we are animals, that is as sure as ever. How savagely we behave! And how affectionately rub up against one another. How, desperately, make love?”
Five-star review: “ . . . remarkable collection of essays. . . . insights which carry the reader into a world of mindfulness. One of the pleasures of reading a book by Mr. Eaton is to witness the author peeling away the layers of his stories. His essay concerning “savoring,” for example, first touches on food habits, yet is in fact a call to live with intention; to savor life as one would savor a meal. . . . lovely prose . . . delightful book.”


Kind words about Surviving: “Entertaining, yet packs a quiet intellectual wallop. . . . so thought-provoking and poetic I didn’t want it to end . . . beautiful and wise and moving . . . engaged, non-doctrinaire, well-read, independent-minded. . . . William Eaton finds arresting themes in unusual places. . . . The writing is masterful and wonderfully absorbing.”



Categories: Poems (including Limericks)

Tags: , , , , ,

1 reply

  1. I love both the poem and the art. You’re right–about the ship turning.

    On Tue, Apr 17, 2018 at 6:13 AM, montaigbakhtinian wrote:

    > William Eaton posted: “In the 1980s I heard that a psychotherapist had > said to a patient In tears, on the verge of a nervous breakdown – feeling > better grounded Would take time; it would be like turning an ocean liner > around. I always liked that idea and unde” >

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