T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Officials record and examine cygnets and swans during the annual census of the Queen’s swans, known as ‘Swan Upping,’ along the River Thames near Chertsey, Britain. (Toby Melville, Reuters, wsj.com July 16, 2018)

head up in the bright morning air

swan

But earlier this week on a wooded path,
I thought the swans afloat on the reservoir
were the true geniuses,
the ones who had figured out how to fly,
how to be both beautiful and brutal,
and how to mate for life.

Twenty-four geniuses in all,
for I numbered them as Yeats had done,
deployed upon the calm, crystalline surface—

forty-eight if we count their white reflections,
or an even fifty if you want to throw in me
and the dog running up ahead,

who were at least smart enough to be out
that morning—she sniffing the ground,
me with my head up in the bright morning air.

– Billy Collins, Genius from Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems


Notes:

 

Swan

swan

When I was very young, my Mother took me for walks in Humboldt Park, along the edge of the Prairie River. I have vague memories, like impressions on glass plates, of an old boathouse, a circular band shell, an arched stone bridge. The narrows of the river emptied into a wide lagoon and I saw upon its surface a singular miracle. A long curving neck rose from a dress of white plumage.

Swan, my mother said, sensing my excitement. It pattered the bright water, flapping its great wings, and lifted into the sky.

The word alone hardly attested to its magnificence nor conveyed the emotion it produced. The sight of it generated an urge I had no words for, a desire to speak of the swan, to say something of its whiteness, the explosive nature of its movement, and the slow beating of its wings.

The swan became one with the sky. I struggled to find words to describe my own sense of it. Swan, I repeated, not entirely satisfied, and I felt a twinge, a curious yearning, imperceptible to passersby, my mother, the trees, or the clouds.

~ Patti Smith, Just Kids


Photo: Swan by tatsuo yamaguchi (via Superbnature)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Get up!

swam-catch


The swans on the River Alster in Hamburg, Germany were caught and moved to their ice-free winter quarters on the Eppendorf Muehlenteich millpond. They will remain there until spring. (Bodo Marks/wsj.com)

 

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

bird-bill-black-swan


Notes:

  • Image Source: Black Swan via gost-47
  • Don’t miss post on Black Swans at wordsfromanneli: Black Swan

Happy Mother’s Day

mute swan with baby

Northern Sea Otter and baby

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