Now We Are 48
Dreamed 1991 by Laurel Blossom
Katie jumped into the ocean blue.
The water cleared. Of a swimming pool
The closer I got to the bottom
She opened her eyes and stretched and smiled
We jumped back into the ocean.
That's the kind of dream I like. Logical, easy to interpret, no loose ends. I suppose, despite my intellectual pretensions and literary ambitions, that's the kind of poem I like too... Clarity of that kind is rare, however--at least for me.
Laurel Blossom is a poet (and swimmer) living in South Carolina. She's won fellowships from both the New York and the National Endowments for the Arts. Her work is more often free verse with adult concerns, but Now We Are 48 clearly riffs on A. E. Milne's book of children's poems, Now We Are Six, and the poem has that Milnean simplicity. But its themes matter to adults as well: getting in over your head, not knowing how to swim in "the deep deep end"--or aiding a friend, and finding out that act saved you, too.
So what does the dream say? Dream-Kathy spells it out: "I never really drowned." If the dream refers to real issues in Blossom's life--hitting 48?--isn't Kathy also saying "The feeling you're drowning, over your head, is just a feeling. We aren't six now. We're 48. We can swim in the deep end now. We can even teach others how."
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