Nov 26
poem challenge: Great Poets

Response to Mary Oliver's 'The Swan'

I saw it then, I see it now
Tonight, a brightness to the moon, its sheen like whitecaps, murky pale
Birds pierce the skies when airborne, rip holes into stars with unconscious sharpness –
A symphony of sound, a cacophony of life protrudes from the biting cold and lodges itself into a tangled vein –
To be regurgitated and thrown up, up into space, drifting on the air like gossamer spider's webbing,
                 caught in the wind and slipping into my ears with gentle boldness
I have found beauty in faces uncontrolled, boys who brush their hips with mine,
                 girls who smile up at me with gaps in their teeth, dips in the bridges of their noses 
Swans fight the wind and air and sky to continue upward
All I need is a second, third, fourth, thousandth breath, to exude warm air and take in the coolness of the earth, 
                spit into the grass and watch the dirt congeal around it, soaking up the excretion of my being, the proof of my life's breadth 

The Swan
By Mary Oliver 

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees – like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

About the Author: infinitelyinfinite3
Brown person, LGBTQIA+ member, overthinker, and book and music lover. I am not afraid of the Oxford comma, and you shouldn't be, either. ;)