The Swan at
Edgewater Park
Isn't one of your prissy richpeoples's 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.
--- Ruth Schwartz as quoted in
Bright Wings: Poems about Birds
Edited by Billy Collins
©2010 Columbia University Press
Go to a
of this book

Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH