Tarheel Divers

The Cave by William Bell

This poem was written by William Bell for a highschool English Class.  He received the William Page Dame 2nd Prize Medal awarded by his school's literary magazine.

With tanks assembled ready still

The mind of cavers, iron willed

The mornís confusion slowly dies

Replaced by eagerness relied

Upon the hope that they just might

Return again into the light

Anticipation building slow

Ready for the morningís go

At learning secrets underneath

The caves imposing limestone teeth

Without the help of maps or signs

The cave decides who will survive

And who returns unto the sun

Though risking death is half the fun


The party now is fully dressed

To be the duly honored guest

To ballrooms watery dancing night

When some may not return to light

The guests arrive at waterís edge

Escort themselves beneath the ledge

To see the wonders darkness hides

In mansions where their host resides

Before the fear within them wins

Returns them to their homes and kin

They take the plunge, must not be late

To their rendezvous with fate

Falling softly yet with purpose

They leave behind the light and surface


Line of gold within their sight

A beacon to attract their light

Ignoring signs of warning fate

Proclaiming that its not to late

They pass the words and once again

Decide to prove that they are men

Theyíve reached beyond where sun can follow

To search the caves and rocky hollows

Caution thrown into the wind

Where luck cannot their fate amend

Continue on in rocky night

Electric be their only light

And should they lose the line of gold

As stories only their lives be told



Onward still into the realm

Ambition captain at the helm

Steering on into the night

Caution giving up the fight

To stop the madness, call the dive

For chance to surface with their lives

Out of misty darkened gloom

A tunnel soon to be a tomb

Reveals itself to all that see

A wondrous opportunity

Giving in to fascination

Submitting to this great temptation

The tangent followed in great haste

The golden line, forgotten waste


The darkness grabs them pulls them in

The wonders all around them win

In stealing off their reservation

Till the fateful hesitation

When something deep inside them pleads

To put their fears again at ease

And go again to where the air

Is not sealed off by rocky lair

But to their growing mindís bewilder

The golden line they followed hither

To hostís increasing mad delight

Cannot be found within their sight

They must set off in hopes that they

Can find where their salvation lay


But as the growing darkness finds

Its way into the caversí minds

The dragon found at base of neck

At once begins to peck and peck

At logic thought and reasoning

And sense of what is happening

His breath of heat and strangled manic

Begins to coax the diversí panic

And so the battle now begins

Of caversí mind and dragonís fins

Itís likely that this fight will find

Whether fate shall be so kind

To grant once more the chance to see

The setting sunís tranquility


The scenes of rock now flying by

To find where golden beacon lies

The caves around them new and strange

No points of reference within range

At base of skull the dragon sits

Finished slaying diverís wits

Without the chance to think things through

There is no hope, deathís sentence true

Perhaps that hole or maybe next

By blind ambition, their fate is vexed

Their host has swallowed them completely

Their struggle only coming feebly

It seems theyíve played into deathís hands

And never more shall walk dry lands


Settled down into the sand

The divers soon throw in their hands

Accepting now their sad cruel fate

They wonder how theyíve reached this state

Perhaps they should have stayed above

Comforting the ones they love

Instead of tempting death's desire

Following the devilís fire

Ambition without contemplation

Led them to this situation

For had they followed golden line

Or turned around at warning sign

They might not be in rocky grave

Where by nothing can there lives be saved


Their breaths are coming harder now

Their sorrow vested in their brow

Their masks are flooding not from out

But rather from their tears without

The hope that they might once again

Walk upon the land of men

Where terror doesnít live in dark

And by lighted sun they shall embark

To see the land that god hath made

Rather than in Hades shade

Where lurking apparitions seek

To steal the souls from fallen weak

And take the breath they hold so dear

Tormenting their increasing fear


The empty tanks are useless weights

Just symbols now of sealing fate

The lights which once had burned so bright

Are starting to give up the fight

Overcome by darkened gloom

The cavers hardly find the room

For pity hope or satisfaction

Their hearts now giving last contraction

The day had started out so fine

To be thwarted by forsaken line

Their host has now become their hell

Their dragonís fire never quelled

Theyíll never get to go above

To see once more those whom they love