“You can do it son, you will do it…”
Said his papa sternly, picking him up,
Arms akimbo, legs flailing,
“The other boys can do it, so can you…”
The tears fairly jumped from his eyes
As he fought his papa to no avail.
Out at the end of the long, long dock,
The dark, surging water was waiting
To swallow him up forever.
Klomp, klomp, klomp
Went his papa’s boots on the wooden slats.
He closed his eyes, covered them with his hands
As papa heaved him off the end of the dock,
And he fell, down, down, down,
Into the cold black wetness,
Flapping his arms helplessly
Unable to rise, sinking further down,
Leaving a few small bubbles on the surface.
His papa stood there looking down.
“Move your arms, son, don’t be a sissy…”
But all was still, ominously still.
Then his papa called to a friend to come quick,
He didn’t even stop to take off his boots,
They both jumped off the end of the dock,
Down deep, deep, deep and pulled him out,
Shaking, sputtering, gasping for air.
Little Bobby never did learn how to swim.
(For my pop, Robert David Duncan)