Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An actual entry with more questionable poetry

It looks like the Obamas may be coming to visit me here in Copenhagen this week and in December!  I'm touched.  Michelle probably wants an update on Whitney Young.  She didn't have to come all this way for my stories about our alma mater, but I will do my absolute best to entertain her while she's slumming it in Denmark.

Observed Rosh Hashanah last week and Yom Kippur yesterday, which I don't think I did last year at Oberlin.  It's interesting that my first year in college (2007), I celebrated the Jewish High Holidays at school, and being once again in an unfamiliar place, I celebrated them again this week.  There is something comfortable about ritual.  I thought of my mom and Julie and JRC in Evanston, and fasted for (almost) the entire day.  I'm sorry to any readers of this blog for anything I did to you last year and everything I'll do to you this year.

Including springing poetry on you unexpectedly.  It is a fact of life that no one likes reading poetry unless they write it themselves.  But it gets posted here because this one, at least, is another piece about Copenhagen.  My second Sunday here, August 29, I watched a swan die in the lake by my apartment.  It was really difficult to describe, though I wanted to, and this is the only way I think I could have.


this swan had run herself

into a steel wire web

where streetlights hang above the running path 

that drapes around our lake

two girls and their mother

called “animal police” they said

in broken English when I asked

I didn’t know the beaks of swans

turned blue for any reason but

this one’s neck had broken

maybe because they are so graceful

she was still alive in silence

opening her mouth for air each time 

her head rolled and plopped staccato in the water

her vertebras no longer formed

that immortal swan shape you would recognize

other birds around her honked

one dragged the blue beak back and forth

it looked to us on the sand violent

we tried to shoo them off 

her dropping head was every kind of pain

not lessened by the other swans, the late animal police,

least by our witness

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