This weekend I’m going to take hours and hours to write my poems. But today, I’m going to write this poem during the busy busy day, instead of at the end of my double, in order to avoid the Wednesday hate-poeming. I’m still fighting this cold, and I am determined to go straight to bed when I get home late tonight. It will be awesome.
This one is probably going to be short and sweet, and not at all about this era of revolution we live in, which is what I want to poem about. That I will leave for the weekend. Instead, I’m going to access the dreamspace again, since it has been fruitful lately, and because last night I dreamed of Anna Pavlova and The Dying Swan, in a plain full of fog, and somehow it was vitally important that I see the dance. I forget what horrible thing was going to happen to me if I didn’t make it over to her flitting figure in the clouds, but it would’ve been dire.
Check this out:
Most of the people commenting on video this prefer the Vera Karalli interpretation, but I like Pavlova’s so much more. It’s the arms, and her head, and the way she isn’t afraid to break the lines and make an uglier choice. Ack. So good.
My swan dream sent me to look up the Tennyson poem, which I had forgotten was so, so good. You can read his “The Dying Swan” here:
So, I’ve got a mashup in my brain going on, with a story I heard about Pavlova’s death and the Tennyson poem and my weird fog dream. The story goes, the world’s greatest Cygnus contracted double pneumonia after a train accident on the way from France back to The Hague, because she had to stand on the platform in her pajamas for twelve hours while they fixed the train. It is said that she called for her Dying Swan costume on her deathbed. That seems like rumor, but a pretty one. Swans are supposed to house human souls, according to myth, and it seems that for her, it happened in reverse.
Here is a poem about that:
When she sang for it at the end, the nurses brought in her costume, and though she couldn’t see it against the blank dissolving walls, they placed her hands upon the bodice, and her skin grew feathers. A final low warble, and she stepped, lifting each arch with light purpose. gliding on the shudder, she curved into the plain. All her life she’d longed to dance on grass, but could never risk the slipper. Bending upward, and flicking those death-thrall wrists, (always her forte), the return had already begun. A slow and joyful keen curled the fog around her calves and she trilled with pleasure, as slippers grew into dark webs, as the pinions grew into her skin, and her neck, already a long reed, eased into a perfect arc. A lament without sorrow filled the spaces between the marsh weeds and creeping bank rushes, as her fingers feathered, and her limbs finally, finally! lifted her up to her the strains of her own strange trumpet.
I borrowed heavily from Tennyson. I’m okay with it. I can see this happening so clearly in my brainspace, but it’s not translating. Maybe the problem isn’t the late night poeming after crazy workdays, maybe the problem is me. Maybe I just have a creative waning in the middle of the week. Or maybe this isn’t as trite and overdone as I think. Dunno. I do know that it is done, so tonight, instead of stressing until something poemy happens, I can go to bed. That I feel good about. Happy Wednesday!