Saturday, September 25, 2010

To Understand a Swan......


"To understand a swan,
one must learn
how to cry,"
my son says,
the words
suddenly
clear.
Such truths sprinkle
his conversation,
attuned as he is
to a higher
frequency
than the
rest of us
can hear.

And these days,
I am very close
to tears.
I can't put my finger
on it.
Yes, my old dog
is failing,
but it is
something more.                  .
Am I grieving
my life's
passing,
and
all the losses
gone before?
                     
Each loss
triggers
grief
for all
the others.
A wave like a
jet plane
knocks you 
flat;
it nearly
smothers.
You tumble
on the ocean floor
a while
in pain,
wondering if
you'll
ever get
back up
again.
But when
the wave
draws back
its lip
once more,
you arise
with luck
much stronger
than before,
even more wise,
remembering
there was
much more
love and joy
than the
goodbyes.

Perhaps I'll
soon converse
with swans,
look in their
opaque eyes,
and finally
understand
what this
shifting
ground
on which
I stand
is trying
so hard
to make me
realize.

37 comments:

  1. Sherry, fantastic write...mean it really!!...we greive as life passes us...hanging on balancing memories to losses...brillant..wonderful meter to it also....

    thank you too for your wonderful comments on Millay write...bkm

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  2. It is as if you have peered into my heart and put the words on paper...i can feel the emotion in this poem because i know it in my soul....i think this is truly a beautiful capturing of the feelings of grief,and hope...i love this poem Sherry!

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  3. Oh thank you - I struggled somewhat with the words and metre, I finally just let it be.......this must be a time of transition, when things are trying to re-shape themselves. A change is coming, heaven knows what it will be....but it could be.......something wonderful!Thank you for reading and commenting. I so appreciate the support.

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  4. You amaze me. One day you're posting about trees or something, and then you pull something like this out of your pocket. I'm floored. From beginning to end, this is thoughtful, heart-tugging and wise. Excellent excellent excellent.

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  5. Funny, I'd never thought of that ("To understand a swan, / one must learn / to cry,"), but reading it in your poem evokes some deep forgotten 'knowing' that this is truth. Such a beautiful poem...

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  6. My son utters a lot of these profound truths. If he keeps talking, I'll never run out of poems:)

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  7. lovely and profound.swans have been the subject of much poetry and this would rank with the best.

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  8. The opening stanza is specially lovely as it sets the scene for the conversation and reflections. I would think though that the swan is metaphor for the grieving days and forthcoming changes in one's life ~

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  9. "But when
    the wave
    draws back
    its lip
    once more,
    you arise
    with luck
    much stronger
    than before,
    even more wise,
    remembering
    there was
    much more
    love and joy
    than the
    goodbyes."

    Maybe when you look into the swan's eyes you will recognize yourself. Your son is a treasure. Your Dog, your heart--my goodness--you give us a lot in this poem.
    Thank you.

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  10. Sherry,

    I guess it is how we each face and manage the knockbacks in life. We get back up and try to carry on...
    Swans always tend to look so graceful. No sign of what may be going on below the water-line....

    Best Wishes Sherry,
    Eileen :)

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  11. Such a lovely poem. I was feeling something similar today and finally decided to wonder if I were being invited to see it all differently. After I read your poem I realized it's okay to not know... you wrote it out so well. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. This is a very beautiful poem! Hard to say what we're feeling or hard to describe it when we have our 'moods'. We've learned to know when we are in them, but maybe perhaps it is not for us to understand.

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  13. A truly fascinating and insightful poem. A great read.

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  14. Oh this is most wonderful. I miss that unjaded realism by which children decipher the world. My own children have outgrown their innocence. Like an addiction that absence makes one crave it even more and often leaves me feeling quite hollow.

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  15. Sherry,
    This is so beautiful and seems to come from a very deep and primal place.

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  16. Melancholic and deep thoughts here. Lovely write!

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  17. I think the lesson is always about the balance of opposing forces... The middle way is always best...

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  18. what an awesome bit of wisdom from your son...grief is a journey we all take that is different...and the feels at times see to hide in wait for the next loss...loss is def something we can all understand...

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  19. Beautifully expressed thoughts. Your best to date. A wonderful exploration for the meaning of life swathed in pain and joy.Superb!

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  20. "remembering there was much more love and joy... "

    Oh, if this wasn't the case, if we one day don't bounce back - well, the richness of life is lost. I think I understand the metaphor the "swan song" a bit more clearly.

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  21. Oh, Sherry... this touched my heart. I'm sorry you are sad. I get that way, too. So many times for me it's weather-related (lack of sunshine). I hope you get to feeling better soon.

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  22. I think that is why we are here for the sake of adversity and the flame of inspiration...

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  23. Sherry this is great - made me swallow hard a couple times.

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  24. Sherry,

    This is beautiful and sad with deep emotions..your son hears and sees on
    a higher plane..I hope you are well
    and I hear you my friend.

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  25. i like the way your poem tumbles, droplets in a waterfall rushing down to join the ocean - which is kind of how i think of death now...

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  26. I am so happy that you reposted this poem. I had remembered mostly the truth about the swan as the strongest image. Today I am with the ocean's lip and the shifting ground--both part of the message the narrator thinks is coming. It is possible that we never know all till we reach the end of our time. It is possible that the tears help your eyes and heart to recover, and so perhaps it's good to live with the mystery of a tearful day.

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  27. it's good if we realize that we really are on shifting ground.. and sometimes it shakes a bit more than usual..love what your son said and yes, the swan could tell us maybe some interesting stories about life

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  28. Wonderful take Sherry! I realize too how the youngsters are more alert and downright frank in their words. In so doing they come up with gems. Great write Ma'am!

    Hank

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  29. ...i'm deeply humbled by these words that flow so lovely & wisely & beautifully.... your son should turn on to poetry... i'm very glad you reposted this poem Sherry... it's a genuinely genuinely a pleasure to read & have reflections on with... smiles... thank you for the poem...

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  30. Oh Sherry--you wrap yourself up in the things I am feeling and give voice to them--what a gorgeous write---cry and sing with swans

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  31. I could read this a million times and it would still touch my heart. How beautifully you wrote this truth. Life is full of little deaths that we mourn, then resuscitate hopefully stronger, wiser. i know you have. How sweetly you accept your son's different slant of seeing the world. Maybe he sees clearly what we poets try to capture in words.

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  32. Yes, I see the shifting ground from the ocean floor and now, I will watch for swans.

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  33. Sherry, this really strikes a chord. I so often have felt this way, especially the last few years as I realized how short this life is and how much beauty there is, so much I haven't seen and there is something about looking in to an animal's eyes, sensing their contentment just to be that puts one at ease. Beautiful

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  34. Sherry, I rarely allow myself time to think in this fashion, because if I do I will drown in my own maudlin self. Poignant poem and thanks for visiting me.

    Pamela

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  35. I can only imagine as you listened to your son utter those lines which open this write, Sherry - all the emotions and thoughts swirling and opening up inside you. A deep write ~ M

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  36. Wise, thoughtful and great poem.

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  37. Loved the opening - as seen through a child's eye and the journey was intense and real. The unfolding yielded the transience that is everyday life and everyday joys and grief.

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