Friday, February 25, 2011
Why I was born three parts woman
and one part swan -- I will never know.
Without arms to carry, sweep or tend
a man like those village brides
wearing lace caps and wide skirts,
my wings are useless to a home
except when I shed. Then feathers
are gathered and stuffed
into pillows or quilts.
Yet, when evening throws her shadow
across the lawn, I fly.
Sleek and sensitive, my wings
skim moonlight off the wind
and fan the air
with something sensuous,
the scent of dew
penetrating white gardenias,
the burst of grapes
ripening on a hill's upper thigh,
and the need of a woman
to be touched by her husband.
This poem is based on the mythical character of the
"Swan Maiden", found in several German and Russian
folk tales as well as Greek mythology. Traditionally,
the character transforms herself into a swan to either
avoid a suitor or to attain one, to escape an arranged
marriage or to promote a femme fatale persona that
entices prince or peasant. However, this poem is a
mutated version of the motif. It's about an
individual finding purpose when limited by the
strangeness of her birth and circumstances. Almost
human but lacking arms, she seems out of place in both
the world of woman and the world of birds. Though she
has inherited the desires and inclinations of a
female, she will not marry or assume the natural
duties of mother and wife. Therefore, she is almost
reduced to the functionality of season and household,
as her feathers will be used for the stuffing of
pillow and quilts. Yet, when evening approaches, she
is compelled to fly, to break free of her limitations.
Here, she finds her niche, her ability to stir the
darkness with something erotic, feelings of need and
want, passion and desire. Perhaps, she may never be a
bride but she awakens the sensual inspiration within a
woman. Like a muse, she is a catalyst that arouses
the female's sensual impulses. And that in ,itself,
becomes a talent, a rare and coveted skill.