The Undertow

Written by: Thomas Mansfield

The Undertow

The two could feel the undertow
Pull at them both - then let them go
He wondered if she could know
Or sense it too and let it flow

The undertow in the fast-running tide
Ebbed and flowed at the pair inside
It was hard for them to try to hide
Or even attempt to suppress the ride

That surge and then the ebb once more
The Rush built up from their very core
The current swirled - came to the fore
Then swooshed away across the floor

Interwoven hands, too soon withdrawn
Leaving both feeling strangely forlorn
A stolen glance, a touch so warm
A glimpse, a look - but ne'er of scorn

Her words, well-chosen, seem to stop
Start again then her eyes she drops
Then looks again at his face. His top
Looks away - her stilted words now cropped

He holds her stare, her lovely eyes
And feels her silent, halted sighs
Her stifled, unspoken, suppressed cries
Sees the passion in her that her calm belies

Quickly looks away in self-disgust
Tries to quell his latent lust
Changes subject - as he must
As she shares her thoughts, her fears, her trust

As if she knows, touches his forearm
Speaking words of soothing calm
A caress, almost, there seems no harm
But inside them both, frenzied alarm

The undertow steals their sense
Their brief, snatched moments so intense
The gulf between the two immense
He shakes his head at his own nonsense

Her blazing eyes of charcoal black
Glisten as she, again, looks back
Fervent ardour she does not lack
Starts work again, gets back on track

With apologies she resumes her work
She hates to stop, to slack, to shirk
Yet the undertow still seems to lurk
Their minds and bodies both berserk

He gets up to go - starts to rise
She turns her head as if in surprise
And with pleading, impassioned eyes
Without any sign of guile or guise

Utters, "Don't leave. Please stay!"
The undertow pulling them every way
Both of them wanting, but none could say
How, or what, or from where the sway

In a sudden haze of fear and doubt
Random thoughts scream and shout
"Leave right now, don't flirt or flout
Go ‘fore the undertow drags you out"

The electric charge hangs in the air
The touches, the looks, the sheer despair
His futile thoughts, beyond repair
He eyes her breasts, her face, her hair

So caught up in the undertow
He wants to stay but has to go
They both stand up - both aglow
Courteous, but both did know

The undertow had, indeed, caught them
It held them in a fierce maelstrom
And in this state of silent mayhem
He knew that he'd now work in bedlam

The tentative hug, the polite embrace
Finally came - and not in haste
He felt her body, felt her face
Heard her kind, friendly words so chaste

In the undertow they were swept
Older man, young woman, both adept
But at this moment both were kept
Beyond logic or reason, both inept

Without warning he kissed her neck
Not knowing why but she seemed not vexed
Knew he shouldn't – at himself perplexed
His unwarranted thought of sex

Suddenly he spun away
Escaped the undertow's lurid play
And left her there, probably in dismay
With her elegant poise and calm display

Never once did she seem upset
By the unexpected kiss that she did get
Nor did she scoff - maybe she'll forget
Or thinks it was just friends who met

If there was hurt he hopes it mends
Undertow shocks, sometimes offends
Until then he hopes each ear will lend
Their attention to listen to each other’s friend.