Monday, Monday

Does anyone remember the Mamas and the Papas? Of course, but only with nostalgia. Back in the 70s Larry commented that their music was dated. It startled me at the time, but of course, he was right. They are their period. This morning, talking about the implications of the election in Egypt, Larry said, “I predict a dysfunctional government. Anyone taking bets?”

But Monday is also a day I look for a new poem to send to my poetry friends, and this is what I came up with today and am hereby adding to my anthology of radically accessible poetry.

The Swan at Edgewater Park

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.

Ruth Schwartz

I especially like the line “Chardonnay of algae with bouquet of crud.” It manages to pinpoint so much about pretentiousness on the way to a compassion that makes room for it and for more. You can read more of her work here.

found this in Bright Wings: An Illustrated Anthology of Poems About Birds, which I think would make an excellent gift for a literary bird watcher, someone for whom it might be hard to find a gift.


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