Thursday, June 08, 2006


The Wish of the Brother with the Swan's Wing

As soon as the shirts touched them, the swan skins fell off,
and her brothers stood before her in the flesh. Only the
youngest was missing his left arm, and he had a swan's
wing on his shoulder instead.


To meet his left arm again.
To pick up pebbles and skip them.
To close ten fingers over a pearl
of great price. To wind the gold stem
of his watch. Or not wind it.
To stop time. To walk up and speak to her.
To play Chopin and move the minutes
to tears. To carve her name on a bench.
To lift her chin toward his mouth.
To dance with her, one hand at the small
of her back, the other clasping her fingers
lightly--they are so small, like the bones
of a bird! With his strong left hand,
to slip a gold band on her finger.
To throw off his shirt, blue as the asters,
that his sister wove from the wild stars
of the field. To be broken yet whole, a ring
of still water. To sleep with his bride
on the floor of a white boat as it floats
out to sea. To carry her on the water's
shoulders. To shelter her
under his wing.


(sohel, sohelart gallery)


jim said...

While blogger is letting us respond . . . . thank you for introducing me to this wonderful Nancy Willard poem. So much to be done by fracturing a fractured fairy tale.

pepektheassassin said...

Hi, jim! Glad you like ie. She's a great writer of fiction (Things Invisible To See, Sister Water...) and of several children's books, all wonderful!

liz elayne said...

this nancy willard poem is delightful. thank you for sharing it today.

happy thursday (well, it's still thursday here :))

Tammy said...

I really enjoyed this! Thank you for showing me a poet I was not familiar with :)

wendylou who? said...

so many great writers I've never heard of...I'm starting a list.
Thanks for sharing

pepektheassassin said...

Thank you all!

Joy Eliz said...

Oh! the Brothers Grimm. love, love, love!!!

k said...

wonderful, truly. I'll be looking for her work now.

Tammy said...

Thank you so much for your kind words and I would be honored to be on your blogroll :)

RavenGrrl said...

The poem makes me ache and long for that sheltering wing. I once shared this same poem on my blog - I think over a year ago, but somehow reading it again, somewhere else besides there, or in my old notebook, makes it even better.

This line: To be broken yet whole, a ring
of still water
... that is so profound, so true, so much what I am trying to remember every day.

I love Nancy Willard's books and poems! I have The High Rise Glorious Skittle Skat Roarious Sky Pie Angel Food Cake and it's fantastic and so fun to read aloud!

thanks for sharing this one, pepek!