Sunday, March 26, 2017

Swimming With the Sharks (for Lainey)

.
.
.

Swimming With the Sharks (for Lainey)


Swimming with the sharks, what an adventure,
when time comes to finally run a race;
a brief respite for those without a cure;
apples not oranges, footing not sure,
a time to redefine goal of first place.

A lesson in charades, for those static,
gladly given up. They know from the start,
all are not measured by the same yardstick;
will make sure today is less traumatic;
swimming with the sharks, worthy counterpart.

A moment to compete, not hide away,
on top of the world, season to define;
to enter in the game, come out and play;
daring to move, keeping the wolves at bay,
ground beneath, showing way to finish line.

When swimming with the sharks, choose to swim deep,
disregarding conventional rule sets.
There are arenas which welcome black sheep,
where the losers rejoice and victors weep.
Provided, this is a good as it gets.

Michael Todd (2017)

Disclaimer: The prompt for this poem was given to me by Lainey. I asked her for an idea. She responded with "swimming with the sharks." Not long after, I saw a video of several instances where people who were physically or mentally challenged, were taking part in athletic endeavors.

There was one where a basketball player got a rebound, and went the length of the court, and on the third try, hit a shot. Players from both teams gave him time and space. When that shot went in, players from both teams celebrated, along with the crowd. It was a magical moment in time.

There were several other defining moments in the video, but the one that got to me was when a player scored a goal in a soccer game, and immediately ran across the field, removed his team jersey, and gave it to a fan, confined to a wheel chair. I had great respect for that player. I have great respect for all of the individuals I saw in the video. I have tremendous respect for those who are impeded and cannot compete on an apples to apples level, but still give it their best.

And as for those who encourage them, I have no proper words to describe, other than to say, to me, they are the finest people, and worthy of acclaim, but odds are good, they don't want or need that.

100 comments:

  1. A beautiful poem, and touching backstory. I've seen videos like the one you describe, and they always move me to tears with the kindness and compassion of the athletes. They show that everyone can be winners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dahlia... You said much better than I did. Thank you for that.

      And, of course... Nice FRISTING!!!

      Delete
    2. Ohhh the good old days still firsting. Great poem mike!!

      Delete
    3. Some traditions never waver, Brian... Thanks!

      Delete
    4. Beautiful! And as for the good old days, here are my Kudos!

      Delete
    5. Thank you, Cheri.
      You are too sweet. :)

      Delete
    6. Beautiful write, Michael.

      Delete
  2. Love it! Great details and wording! Also swimming with fine wisdom! Definitely give them space and room to shine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do that and good things are bound to happen...

      Thank you, Briana.

      Delete
  3. LOVED THE POETRY...IT WAS DELICIOUSNESS IN MY HEART AND THE BACK STORY WAS A SUPERB DESERT...THANK YOU FOR THE INVITE TO READ...I AM BLESSED <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gail. You are far too kind. <3

      Delete
  4. Truly inspiring words mostly for those who may struggle with thoughts of the new and busy week ahead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Piper... I hope your upcoming week is spectacular.

      Delete
  5. This brings out the soul that believes in equality and fair play for all

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the world I want to live in, Stormy. Thank you.

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. I did my best to channel her with this, Sallon. If I have a good side, I attribute that to her.

      Thanks bunches for visiting.

      Delete
  7. I've seen those videos usually on the local news broadcast and you just know that moment was the highlight of that person's life.

    A lot of the lines in this poem have a pause in the line, reminding me of old Anglo-Saxon poetry such as Beowulf, and it gives those lines a rhythm and drive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no substitute for having a lasting moment, Doc.

      Thank you for your very kind overview, Sir.

      Delete
  8. ~wait a fine work.. thank you for sharing it ... swim deep.. loved that

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Katherine. Glad you enjoyed that analogy.

      Delete
  9. I enjoyed this poem very much, Michael, and the back story.
    I love the 5-line form. The fifth line always surprised me with the delayed rhyme from the second line. The form works with the content to create a hypnotic sea feeling to the poem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Krysia... I have been trying for years to make this form work. This is the first time I was able to do it without assistance... It is wonderful to have you here with us. :)

      Delete
  10. Any friendship that transcends into a journey of family is a blessing of true being. Your words are paths towards eternity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I deeply appreciate your affirmation, Brother Andrew.

      Delete
  11. beauty in the words, heart in the emotions

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coming from you, Rebecca, that is as nice a compliment as I could ever hope to receive. Thank you very much.

      Delete
  12. Serious, committed, dedicated. Your homage was as wonderful to experience as watching those that are challenged excel in their efforts. Well done!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very kind of you, Sir. I admit, I was seriously focused. I really did not want to mess up this opportunity. Thanks.

      Delete
  13. Loved this, Myke....puts thing in perspective . My last year of employment was caring for developmentally disabled. The pride of those who competed in the Special Olympics shone brightly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandra, I readily admit that I have no first hand knowledge here. I was concerned I might miss the mark.

      Your account here is brilliant, and deeply appreciated.

      Delete
  14. Michael this is a powerful, compelling allegory. "Dancing with the sharks," when used metaphorically, can mean so much. It's a beautifully-penned poem you wrote. I also enjoyed reading your eloquent, insightful bit of prose at the close. Hey, I rhymed! Love & hugs, Eliza Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Eliza Anne... Today was a day when the overview was more important than the text.

      I appreciate you visiting, as always. <3

      Delete
    2. I wish I'd written "it's a beautiful poem you wrote." Oh, the redundancy! ~ eaj

      Delete
  15. A new base line to work up from. Raise the bar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The very best plan, Sir, when properly put into motion, and the stars align... Thanks, Christoper.

      Delete
  16. A very deep poem, yet deeper still after reading the inspiration. It is a beautiful thing when people stop being so self-absorbed and let someone whose life is a greater hurdle than most can comprehend, have the spotlight. And radiant joy is unleashed. Kudos! -Dave Raider

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, wow... Dave, you totally get this, in all its facets.

      Thanks, Brother. Take care.

      Delete
    2. "There are arenas which welcome black sheep,
      where the losers rejoice and victors weep."

      Sublime...

      Delete
  17. When people find themselves in an elevated status (a win?) and realize that they are in a position to pay forward that 'win' to others more challenged? Greatest expression of gratitude ever and always grabs my heart. I think we are all swimming with the fishes and at time find ourselves surrounded by sharks --how wonderful when we are not eaten alive--but given an acknowledgement (or token) by better swimmers than us --who realize his hard for some to just stay afloat -/each and every day?
    The heroes are this who win and help others win in return --I could go on and on but I really loved this Mike--thanks❣

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Doris... This is a good place to get caught up in.
      I hope you have a great week upcoming. :)

      Delete
  18. This is beautiful! I work with multi-hanicapped students in our local high school. On a daily basis I watch them conquer obstacles most of us would've walked away from because it was just too hard. I'd be so blessed if you'd allow me the private get of using your poetry with an image to share with the world (well, my small portion of it anyway)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yours is an amazing job. I am very happy this resonated with you, Robyn.

      We will get together on a future project.

      Delete
  19. Dear Michael,

    No way! No how! Can Lainey find a better topic than to scare the blazes out of your writing friends? Ha! Ha! Now, that I can pick my heart off the floor--just kidding. Thought I might make you laugh!

    Blessings and best wishes,
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She was vacationing when she sent that, and that means she is near big water. Her topic was a world of fun to navigate.

      Things should get back to normal on the homestead this week.

      Thanks so much for visiting me, Karen. Have a great week upcoming. <3

      Delete
  20. Wow, Myke! You certainly nailed Lainey's topic, and I love the rhythm and structure. Your words just flow like waves in the ocean. So beautiful, and the mental images I get of those who face such challenges prevailing, it just blows me away. Well done, my friend! HUGS xoxo Colleen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Colleen, the structure is that of a Robert Frost poem that Lainey likes. It defies logic to a dyslexic like me. I got lucky.

      I am glad you saw smiling faces. I could not ask for more. :)

      Delete
  21. Loved the poem, and after reading the story behind it, I loved it even more! :)

    Irene

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Irene. I figured this might me something​ extra to my teacher friends, like you. :)

      Delete
  22. Such a powerful, moving poem my dear. I saw it all like beautiful snippets of a movie. Thank you for sharing it. : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, this is Maria (Mercurychyld) btw. ; )

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much, Maria. I am so glad this played out for you, as I envisioned. <3

      Delete
  23. I loved this and you, so inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. <3 this! Amazing structure and sounds! Inspirational!

      Delete
  24. Touching piece Michael, lovely :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Myke, Voo here. I finally found some of you guys!!!Hello.
    my blogspot is:
    http://bluevineyard.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic to see you, Voo. Glad you found me.

      Delete
  26. You have many fans, Michael and so you should. ☺ Your poem captures the spirit of "The Special Olympics" and other such events so well. I agree with your sentiments completely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Debbie. These are my friends. I am fortunate.
      Thanks for visiting, and good luck in you A-Z Marathon.

      Delete
    2. You have a lot of friends. That's a wonderful thing. Thanks for your good wishes. It's a gruelling challenge but also rewarding.

      Delete
  27. I love your poem. Not easy for some to come out and play but when they do, it's a beautiful celebration. Thanks for sharing, Michael.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A perfect set of cause and effect for celebrating, Debra.
      Thank you. :)

      Delete
  28. It is so touching to see kind works in action. I love seeing the receipents reaction. Thank you for inviting me over to read Myke. As always it has been a pleasure. Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sharing you insight, Laura.

      Great to hear from you tonight. :)

      Delete
  29. A goal is such a personal thing with no solid definition except in the heart and soul. To exist, to experience, to achieve and to reach a mindset of your own acceptability. I don't go deep much preferring life to always be within reach. Great write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful analogies, Barbara. All things being relative...

      Thank you for visiting. :)

      Delete
  30. Wow! Appreciate the nod to black sheep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to do so, Michael. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  31. So touching, bought a tear to my eye.
    Beautifully composed and constructed. You are a great friend Myke.

    Tee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, thanks, Teresa. You are very sweet to say. <3

      Delete
  32. Miss E-laini does bring out the best in you, doesn't she? Not that that is a competition, of course. A fine pack of pome, background information and comments, Sir Myke! As always :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true, Sir Ruggi. I never ever want to disappoint her.
      Thanks for coming by. Have a great morning.

      Delete
  33. I wonder how many poems you have written for her? LOVE this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The answer to your question, Nyla is... not nearly enough.
      But, I am off to a pretty good start.

      Delete
  34. A resplendent muse for an inspiring poem. I miss Lainey and hope she is doing well. Please give her my best. Thanks for sharing this with me. <3 Leta

    ReplyDelete
  35. Nice. I did need your explanation to get the apples and oranges bit, but once you shared that...it's a powerful message. I take it you are posting poems each day this month--a serious challenge!

    Rebecca The Ninja Librarian's Favorite Characters

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you kindly, Rebecca.

      I do well to post a poem once every two or three months. I could never go at an A-Z pace.

      Delete
  36. Myke,Good job. I admire good-hearted people you described who do a little extra to make someone else happy. For anyone who's not physically or mentally challenged then it's difficult to understand the struggles of the underdog and I can see your comparison with swimming with sharks and those with limits. I think it's awesome when such a person gives it their all and shine. Thanks for sharing and for visiting yesterday's A2Z series, Art Sketching through the Alphabet! Happy a good day, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, as always, Cathy, for visiting.

      Best wishes toward continued success with your A2Z Challenge.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Myke! Please feel free to stop in every day for a new sketch contribution. Today's inspired sketches for the letter "E" is for elephant, eagle, and elk. Have a excellent day!

      Delete
    3. Myke, I left a reply to your comment on the letter "E" post giving you permission if you're interested in saving or printing my elephant sketch for your daughter. I hope she likes the drawing but more importantly she'll love that her daddy was thinking of her. :) Have a fantastic day and I invite you pop in for the letter "F" for fence, fox, frog, & funny face!

      Delete
  37. Replies
    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. Your video made this poem. <3

      Delete
  38. Swimming with the sharks is quite an adventure.
    Not everyone is competent,nor dares to venture!

    The video sounds great. Respect to all those who stand up for themselves & respect others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic rhyming response, Anita. Thanks so much, and best wishes for your April adventures.

      Delete
  39. I love it! Eloquent and wise indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  40. A beautiful write (AS ALWAYS) :)

    ReplyDelete
  41. Brilliantly worded! I really enjoyed this
    Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Debbie. It is so nice to here from a friendly voice, as I lie here in a hospital emergency room, following a heart attack.

      Delete
  42. This is beautiful Myke. It left my heart with admiration!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary Ellen. I am so glad this resonated with you, in a good way.

      Delete
  43. Love the poem, Myke! And thank you for the back story. :)

    Irene

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your timely visit, Irene. <3

      Delete