Apr 26, 2012

by English Muse

Happy National ‘Poem-in-your-pocket’ Day!

Being a bit of a (wannabe) bad-@ss ballerina myself, I have taken a particular shine to this one by Ruth L. Schwartz. Poetry-related holiday or not, I think I carry it around in my heart and soul. I just love the idea of finding yourself in a poem and anything that mentions a swan conjures up images of the ballet ‘Swan Lake’ for me. I just wish I were as cool as this feathered fowl.

The Swan at Edgewater Park

Ruth L. Schwartz


Isn’t one of your prissy richpeoples’ swans
Wouldn’t be at home on some pristine pond
Chooses the whole stinking shoreline, candy wrappers, condoms
in its tidal fringe
Prefers to curve its muscular, slightly grubby neck
into the body of a Great Lake,
Swilling whatever it is swans swill,
Chardonnay of algae with bouquet of crud,
While Clevelanders walk by saying Look
at that big duck!
Beauty isn’t the point here; of course
the swan is beautiful,
But not like Lorie at 16, when
Everything was possible—no
More like Lorie at 27
Smoking away her days off in her dirty kitchen,
Her kid with asthma watching TV,
The boyfriend who doesn’t know yet she’s gonna
Leave him, washing his car out back—and
He’s a runty little guy, and drinks too much, and
It’s not his kid anyway, but he loves her, he
Really does, he loves them both—
That’s the kind of swan this is.

That’s me- the Swan from St. Louis

Which poem will you be carrying in your pocket/ heart today?

Cynthia Gregory and Rudolf Nureyev (ABT) 1978

“A Bird may love a fish but where would they build a home?” …..Swan Lake!

see you next week– xo- Jess (that big duck!) from Bodies Never Lie


This entry was posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2012 at 11:02 am. It is filed under Things to love... and tagged with , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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2 Responses to “Flippin’ the Bird in a Poem”

  1. brian miller says:

    ha, i like the poem…taking it places that you dont expect…had not read that one before, so was nice…and my wife was a ballerina for 18 years…will toss it her way in a bit and see what she thinks…

  2. Jess says:

    Hi Brian- always glad to share! I came across that one when I was in high school through the ‘poetry 180’ project and have gradually loved it more and more. Of course, it really has nothing to do with ballet besides the weak Swan connection. 18 years is admirable longevity in the life of a ballerina! She must have been with a great company 🙂

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