Swimming with sharks #poetry #Earthweal

Been swimming with sharks
all my life, so it seems
started before I saw ‘Jaws,’ started
in the playground
girls with pearl-white smiles, knee socks and
patent-leather shoes
pretending friendship
waiting to bite, turn you out
into the sea of isolation.

Been swimming with sharks all my life
did I mention? The men too, had their smiles
couldn’t wait to sink their teeth
into young flesh
so it was then. So I was
foolish fish, but never destined
to become someone else’s dish.

Been swimming with sharks all my life
in the workplace
where they went by the name
of ‘manager,’ ‘supervisor,’ anything
to give them a little power
over anyone
remotely unshark-like
like me.

Been swimming with sharks all my life
and those shades in the sea
who have been here much longer than us:
I do wonder, why not let them be?
But you can’t, can you?
Because you just can’t see

that the most bloodthirsty shark of all
is the shark in your psyche
twisted by too many turns in
a too-shallow sea
that’s called life, and sure, as it swims within you
I can promise,
it swims within me.

© Experimentsinfiction 2020, All Rights Reserved

Written for Earthweal’s weekly challenge

This week, Sherry is hosting, and she has discussed the brutal practice of killing sharks for their fins. The sharks are returned to the water with their fins removed, to die in agony. Sherry has provided inspiration by sharing the story of Rob Stewart, who swam with sharks and tried to bring their plight to the attention of the world before his untimely death in a diving accident. Sherry asks us to ‘write about sharks, the ocean, shark fin soup, human predators, or whatever this information brings up in you.‘ All of this got me wondering who the real sharks are?

32 thoughts on “Swimming with sharks #poetry #Earthweal

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  1. An insightful exploration of human behavior–which is much more like the behavior we attribute to sharks than the behavior of the sharks themselves. (K)

  2. Oh, how I love this poem….the shark-like smiles we encounter from schoolyard to grave. I lived this poem, including not being destined to be someone’s dish – but my own. Eventually those sharks stop circling and life becomes peaceful. Yes, the human predator is the cruelest. So glad you wrote to this prompt. Your poem resonates with me completely.

  3. Shoot, i lost my comment. I love this poem so much. I lived this poem, those shark-like smiles from schoolyard on. I am so glad you wrote to this prompt. Your poem resonates with me completely. Human sharks are the cruelest.

    1. Thanks so much Sherry, I’m pleased this resonated with you! I got both comments, but the first came through as ‘anonymous’ for some reason.

  4. Brilliant Ingrid! I remember those playground and workplace sharks, not so much the men – the ones I knew were guppies. The final stanza packs a punch!

  5. My comment disappeared! Here it is again. Brilliant Ingrid! I remember those playground and workplace sharks, not so much the men – the ones I knew were guppies. The final stanza packs a punch!

  6. Hell yeah, Ingrid!!! “My favorite lines, “Been swimming with sharks all my life
    in the workplace
    where they went by the name
    of ‘manager,’ ‘supervisor,’ anything…”

    If you only knew how appropriate this line is for my current boss at work!!
    Awesome poem!!!

  7. sad that our language has turned ‘shark’ into a pejorative for scummy humans. reverse personification, as it were ~

  8. Sharks of an evolved ecosystem, a dance which involves and endless cycle of devouring, eating, being eaten. Human civilization carries deep remnants of it, but we are only at our worst when using what nature gave us for selfish advantage. Shark teeth are cruel in human mouths! – B

  9. I relate so much to this incredible poem. The girls, the men, and the bosses and the sea of isolation. I do fear allowing it to turn me into a shark myself. Very moving.

    1. That’s a good point – if we swim with sharks we can start to behave like them. I’m pleased you can relate, thank you for your kind words.

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