Sunday, October 14, 2012


                                                                     Image by AIGA
Image: From Wikimedia Commons (here)

A sudden jolt, a springy effect and it stopped
There was silence and it was very quiet
Everyone looked ahead not saying anything
Only then I realized the sound was no more
On normal days one failed  to notice any sound
But when it did happen the faint sound of what
seemed like an exhaust fan was loudly missed 
It was longed for but none

There were 10 others sharing the same fate
It was not crowded but how much space could one share
The confines of an elevator suddenly appeared very small
We were stuck, the lift stopped in between floors

A baby started crying, only then it became apparent
It was beginning to get warm and sweaty
I felt nausea and my heart beat went faster
And I felt that same feeling of long ago

Two of us had scrambled into a near empty cupboard
We were playing hide-and-seek. I was smaller  and
shoved to the rear
The one in front insisted on being discovered
before he would push open  the door
I panicked, I hollered but not in this lift

After what seemed ages someone called out from outside
The door slowly opened but not fully
We could see the floor surface but we were close
to three feet below
The baby started crying again and was the first
to be handed over to those waiting outside
A lady then tried to get up but she just couldn’t
A young man put his shoulders below her rump
He slowly rose amidst giggles from the lady
but not from the others no one else dared
She was pulled up by many eager hands.
Eventually to our relief all got out safely

I had that claustrophobic streak in me
But I was glad I did not make a fool of myself

Note: This was a true experience. I still feel the jitters whenever I step into a lift even now
Stu hosting at d’Verse Poetics : POETCAPHOBIA had suggested writing on a ‘phobia’ and shared with  Poets United's Poetry Pantry #119


  1. aah, the of claustrophobia... I know this experience, well more my mother than me! I was the crying baby :D

  2. Oh, Hank, this is one of my worst fears really...being trapped in an elevator. If I am somewhere where I distrust an elevator, I will walk rather than ride. (Which isn't bad for health - LOL) Also, if too many people get in an elevator, I will get out and wait for the next one. You wrote this poem well. Glad it ended happily, but I bet the happening does not decrease your fear.

  3. There is always this niggling fear in me when I do step into one ~ yikes, I know this feeling of being enclosed in a box ~

  4. That must have been quite the horrible experience, being trapped in an elevator is something I would never want. Especially with all those other people.

  5. I sure can understand your phobia. What an awful experience. It's a wonder you still get in elevators.

    Take care Hank.

  6. An experience I can do without!

  7. oh good night man...this is def be trapped and in an elevator no less....just yesterday my family and i were on one that stopped one foot short of the landing when the doors opened....we jumped off quick...i def did not want to fall...

  8. Hank,

    I got quite concerned when reading about your experience...but knowing that you had written the poem, should have indicated that you had escaped....It is a panic situation, which is not at all pleasant..


  9. Ooohhh... I can feel your panic and believe me, I've shared it. I think that would be one of the worst things to go through... okay I guess I'm being melodramatic but who cares... you've depicted the experience very well.

  10. oh dang...this reminded me of a german movie where some people get stuck in an elevator for quite a bit...frightening experience...glad everything turned out well

  11. I was trapped in an elevator alone when I was seventeen. All I can remember is wanting my mother and promising God all kinds of things if he would let me live.I still take elevators but only if necessary.

  12. Oh, I have this so bad sometimes I have been known to walk up 12 flights / floors and taken long breaks in between so that I wouldn't have to get stuck in an elevator. I would totally freak within seconds of being stuck and they'd have to knock me out or something.
    My heart is racing just thinking about what happened to you Hank.. OMGoodness!

  13. ughhhh this gave me goosebumps...i got stuck in a lift once...i was n there for for ages....hate lifts....thanks for making me hate them even more! ha ha....this poem had a great narrative style, was v engaging...some great (albeit true and terrifying) storytelling here

  14. Yes, one of my worst fears too..........especially of it suddenly falling to the bottom of the shaft. So well done. I held my breath.

  15. A few months ago I went shopping with my brother, I decided to stay in the car whilst he went to get what he wanted. After he walked away from the car I heard a click. I realised he had locked me in.
    I was terrified for a while and being epiletic it was not a good situation to be in. I then remembered my cell phone I quickly rang him and he returned and unlocked the car door.
    I enjoyed your post but that fear is so real.

  16. I am not the least bit claustrophobic, but you convinced me of the discomfort and anxiety experienced by those who are. Effective!

  17. ...'it seemed like ages"..I can imagine!!

  18. I could feel those walls closing in, and a crying baby always raises the anxiety/discomfort level. So glad it wasn't for too long. :-) An excellent poem.

  19. I felt like I was in the elevator along with you! Well done.

  20. You captured that experience so well. Wonderfully done!

  21. Oh gosh, you got me right in from the first moment. I usually dont care for long poems, but I wanted the rest of this story, particularly how YOU got out. (Maybe not all 10 others; I guess that could have become tedious.) I remember getting shut in a cupboard as a child — yes, very scary. I panicked and hollered too!

  22. Yikes...I could feel it, the anxiety is so well portrayed!Great job!

  23. For those who see the elevator as small, they ought to experience the elevators at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. If I remember correctly, they seat four with a pillow space between. The floor is clear so one can see below. As the elevator lifts, its alignment follows the curvature of the arch. Every once in a while, the elevator shifts back to vertical. That would invoke a claustrophobic attack for sure. I remember seeing a child dragged against its will, screaming into one of those. That isn't the way to handle that at all.