Approached by boat, the cliff did not look high,
But when we boys gazed downward from its summit,
We felt uncomfortably near the sky.
We would leap out in turn and, feet first, plummet—
Legs working frantically in search of brakes.
Or, not to be the last left on the heights,
We’d jump in twos and threes and burst the lake’s
Dark surface like a shower of meteorites.
Elsewhere bravado led us to remorse;
There, though, we learned of force and counter-force,
Descending through the many-moted, cold,
Green, sun-shot water with our lifted hair
Till depth slowed us, and buoyancy took hold
And helped us rise back to the light and air.
originally published in The Sewanee Review