Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Swan

Last night—I was feeling awkward in my own life—then gratefully I remembered this poem that I read a few years ago at a memorial for our friend Will.  I am in love with this image of ungainly, ungraceful swan that lumbers and is awkward.

That’s not what we picture when we think swan—the one in the water, the one we see gliding, regal. And now Rilke says that is like us and I think, “Yeah, that is like me and that is why I like poets—they can put words to this feeling and this fear of my own bumbling, rope tied, tripping over to-do lists life:

"This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.
And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on
and cling to every day,
is like the swan,
when he nervously lets himself down into the water,
which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave, while the swan,
unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on."

The Swan, by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robert Bly

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