In A Strange City

In a strange city,
where the local language sounds like gravel poured from a wine glass,
I found her selling tiny blue swans made from azurite.

Her swans were unexpectedly soft,
but she warned me that their blue would fade
with heat and time.

One eye was hidden behind her hair,
making her partial to half moons and split natures.
A caged bird faced away from her on its perch, singing to the public square.

She told me she was a Habsburg, and partial to carriages;
did I happen to have one?
No. I told her I was the Swan Police, and she must come with me.

When she laughed, it was the same,
exactly the same,
as a woman in New York, or Bucharest, or any other place where Gypsies are.

No dealer in antiquities ever touched a vase, or a sculpture
more tenderly than she touched my breasts, that evening in her two-room upstairs flat.
No occupying army ever met less resistance. 

Later, on my back and insensible, I had just the strength to take her hand 
and move it from its craftsmanship to my face, where her fingers left a sweet shine;
she laughed again, this time as rare as a royal.

I had to leave in the morning, of course,
but I packed the swans carefully, like sleeping babies,
more beautiful and less blue than even the day before.


the city pictured at top is Prague, Czech Republic 


hedgewitch said…
The sense of the fragility of things being commensurate with their worth seems to glow at the bright heart of this dark lantern of a poem, softly sensual, as always sharply observant--ultimately in its fading blue, just beautiful--my favorite line is: "..No occupying army ever met less resistance..."
TexWisGirl said…
'gravel poured from a wine glass' love it!
G-Man said…
You let her "Hit For The Cycle" on day ONE? She must have been hot!
Lynn said…
Love the swan imagery.
Anonymous said…
completely off topic, but spirituous and spiritual are connected right at the altar every time a priest drinks the modified blood. so anyways, I just added two words to my post for Brendan's prompt, to satisfy the actual definition (and not the one I was guilty of initially using) and though it modifies the sense, it fits anyways.

back to your pen, you're a mage, but you knew that ~
Sara said…
I also love the sensory image of these words "where the local language sounds like gravel poured from a wine glass." I have heard language like this.

Wow. This one was lovingly tender, especially with the swans. My favorite line was "No occupying army ever met less resistance." That made me giggle:~)
Kerry O'Connor said…
All just so beautiful and amazingly well-written, but I love the stanza beginning "No dealer...". It is a little poem in its own right and produces that remarkable shift from the first to the second movement of the poem.

I think you may just have created a demand for blue swans carved of azurite.
HermanTurnip said…
"I packed the swans carefully, like sleeping babies,
more beautiful and less blue than even the day before"

Ahh, the small tokens of unforgettable moments. Love it!
Cloudia said…
Swan Police - gonna remember that!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >
Anonymous said…
blue is my favorite color...

your words are my favorite poetry...

you are my favorite SP!

kaykuala said…
The elegance and exquisite beauty given its proper treatment. Swans are of regal bearing, that's why! Nicely Shay!

Mama Zen said…
Hedge already quoted my favorite line. This evokes such a tender, sensual mood. It almost feels too fragile to touch.
Marion said…
Gorgeous imagery. The last verse broke my heart..."less blue..." It is life distilled. xo

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