In the poem "Cooks Brook" by Al Pittman, the narrator is growing into manhood. He has determined that he will overcome his fear of diving into a water hole below which is filled with a shelf of dangerous rocks. The narrator stresses that some of his peers are afraid to dive from the ledge.
Not everyone had guts enough
To dive from the top ledge
Of course the narrator has his own natural fears; he realizes that the dive could end his life. He recognizes that the rocks below could smash his skull.
And always there was that moment of terror
When you’d doubt that you could
Clear the shelf
Nevertheless, the narrator chooses to conquer his fears. While knowing that he could crack his skull on the dangerous rocks, he is convinced that he has to dive. He even believes it would be better to die than to walk away showing fear and doubts:
Knowing full well
It would be better to die
Skull smashed open in the water
Than it would be to climb
Backwards down to the beach
Truly, the narrator is a brave young man who has the idea that diving into the dangerous waters below will prove his manhood. He realizes that he really has no choice. He cannot back down now. His peers are observing him. He has to show courage. He has to overcome his fear. He has to prove he is a man. He describes the moment of truth when he survives the dangerous dive:
You daringly defied the demons
Who lived so terribly
In the haunted hours of your sleep
No doubt, the narrator will sleep peacefully tonight.