Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Music Of Swans

[to Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelstam...]

(and for my Grandmother, Lucy White Young)

once we knew the music of swans,
the silver scrolled.
standing on tiptoe

you see the rose windows;
you can almost reach them.
you love a gardenia stillness;

it is not distilled.
perfume of ivory.
perfume of the palest green.

once we saw through the orchards
in all the paintings:
did they come to life?

we breathed our words
falling to earth all apple blossom.
or inscribed on the winter air, in crystal.

and in the citrus summers, in-between,
we learned the music of swans
so that afterwards, in the long ages,

someone would not forget them.

mary angela douglas 3 february 2015