“The Swan at Edgewater Park” by Ruth L. Schwartz
Poetry 180: A Poem a Day for American High Schools, Hosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003
The Swan at Edgewater Park
Isn't one of your prissy richpeoples' swans Wouldn't be at home on some pristine pond Chooses the whole stinking shoreline, candy wrappers, condoms in its tidal fringe Prefers to curve its muscular, slightly grubby neck into the body of a Great Lake, Swilling whatever it is swans swill, Chardonnay of algae with bouquet of crud, While Clevelanders walk by saying Look at that big duck! Beauty isn't the point here; of course the swan is beautiful, But not like Lorie at 16, when Everything was possible—no More like Lorie at 27 Smoking away her days off in her dirty kitchen, Her kid with asthma watching TV, The boyfriend who doesn't know yet she's gonna Leave him, washing his car out back—and He's a runty little guy, and drinks too much, and It's not his kid anyway, but he loves her, he Really does, he loves them both— That's the kind of swan this is.
—Ruth L. Schwartz
from Crab Orchard Review, Volume 6, Number 2, Spring/Summer 2001
Crab Orchard Review
Copyright 2001 by Ruth L. Schwartz.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of Crab Orchard Review from Crab Orchard Review. Copyright 2001 by Ruth L. Schwartz. For further permissions information, contact Crab Orchard Review, craborchardreview.siu.edu.
About the Poet
Ruth L. Schwartz (1962- ) is the author of five poetry collections, including Miraculum (Autumn House Press, 2012). Schwartz graduated from Wesleyan University, with a B.A., from the University of Michigan, with an M.F.A., from the University of Integrative Learning with a Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology.
Learn more about Ruth L. Schwartz.