Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Swans

I made a sundial out of a wine glass and a Ouija board.
then waited for the light to rise.
It did, like a lion's head--
full of a violent promise.

It was too bright, the smile of a lover who lies.
I knew then,
even without looking at the lake,
that the swans were back
and that I
had, somehow,
summoned them.

Swans, your natural collaborators--
one moment serene, and the next, stabbing at things,
as you do with your brushes and cotton balls
when you're angry.
You are the swan-mother,
and they follow you
like cirrus clouds behind a blue sky.

The glass falls from the table,
its bones exploding as if it had the bends.
Then, of course, the Ouija turns,
saying NO
and YES
at random, toying with me
the way the swans do with sunlight.

there is the ring without a finger,
spinning gracefully on its golden edge,
making that silly, dull, cardboard-voiced sound
on the Ouija where it says, quite clearly,


Kerry O'Connor said...

That opening image is outstanding - I had to conjure it up in my mind: the board with an upturned wine glass and the sun dazzling on the crystal with a translucent shadow thrown behind.. Then you gave me some swans to work with...Then it turned sad, as your poems so often do. Why does hello always end in goodbye?

blogoratti said...

Very vivid, and great read!

hedgewitch said...

As you intended,I think, the brushes and cottonballs (stabbing, like freezing sleet) made me think of a figure as vacant and intimidating as the sky, puffed with little white clouds, impersonal, terrifying, remote, disconnected but dangerous and unpredictable as lightning...the rest of the poem also blew me away. The first stanza is one of those perfect parsings of words that sets the scene, and also defines the experience, and every image is weighed just right to glide gracefully, with sinister shadows, into the reader's mind. Swans are always a powerful metaphor in your hands, Shay--never more so than here.

Brian Miller said...

nice...great imagery shay...easy to see as i read...the wine glass and the quija...i like the bit of witchery that happens with the return of them....and the swans...its haunting...the back and forth yes/no is telling...and then the final goodbye...a lot of feeling in that...nice shay...

Lynn said...

The imagery there is wonderful - I can just see it.

Kim Nelson said...

The glimmers of hope dashed, as the wineglass shatters and the shards cut loost the helium-filled yearnings. And the end is sad. Sad.

Sara said...

Wow. There's a new look here. I like the background picture. It's kind of cool. The slightly blurry look draws me in and makes me want to see more.

I've never really liked swans. Not since one chased me when I was a kid. I was just trying to give him some food, but he didn't like me and I had to run really fast. Who knew swans could be so mean and so fast:~) My recommendation is to avoid them at all costs!

I had fun reading this poem. It fits my quasi-Southern accent very well.

Anonymous said...

I can't even speak. Only gasp for breath that will not come.

This is the best poem I've read of yours.

Mama Zen said...

My, my, my! To me, this is just full of unexpected imagery. I adore "its bones exploding as if it had the bends."

Sioux said...

WINTF is your book of poetry coming out? A chap book? A handwritten volume, penned on legal pads?


HermanTurnip said...

Awesome vibe to this piece!

Oh,and swans can be mean mamma jammas when they want to. I've been unlucky enough to be chanced twice by said beasties. They're pretty from afar, but a terror up close!

Susie Clevenger said...

What bottle, Ouija board, swans...seems you conjured up quite a write.

nene said...

Oh, the irony in the beauty and seeming benevolence of a swan from afar and its disingenuous nature when one invades its space.

Like the sound of that ring makes as it winds down from spinning on the cold hard floor after falling from that now empty finger.

Isadora Gruye said...

>>Rubs hands together >> fails to comment eloquently. Bear with me here, peanut, cause this I am running on fumes, but this piece has put a little fuel back in my brain.

On a macro level (and this is just my reading of it) there are so many mythological references--the swans, the sun dial, the lion's head, the spinning ring--that I feel immersed in a hypothetical universe rich with possibilities and cruelty.

I love the blending of those "arcane" symbols with the wine glass and the ouija. I also like that I am a bit uncertain about what this poem is about (much like the boards final answer)....the third verse being my favorite, obscured but also forth right. Wunder bar and viva la

Anonymous said...

damn it! go back to work, woman!

{stomping away.... mumble, grumble, bitch and moan}