Lie Back—and the Sea Will Hold You

Lie back daughter, let your head

be tipped back in the cup of my hand. 

Gently, and I will hold you. Spread 

your arms wide, lie out on the stream 

and look high at the gulls. A deadman’s 

float is face down. You will dive 

and swim soon enough where this tidewater 

ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe 

me, when you tire on the long thrash 

to your island, lie up, and survive. 

As you float now, where I held you 

and let go, remember when fear 

cramps your hear t what I told you: 

lie gently and wide to the light - year 

stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.

--Philip Booth