Julia Griffin: ‘A Remembered Swan’

Former Ballerina with Alzheimer’s is able to remember her old dance routine when she hears “Swan Lake” – Yahoo! News 16th November 2020

A sudden glow: the hollowed arms upswept
Above the wandering head, the starry burst
Streaking the dark. The cobwebbed feet have kept
Their knowledge, not their power: she has been cursed,

Long since, this maimed princess. A crueller stroke
Than Rothbart’s holds her caged, blots out her sky;
How can frail forelimbs beat away his smoke?
How can a grounded spirit hope to fly

Back to its Lake? – except that something strange
Still beats in her, beneath her parchy skin:
A memory.
Among art’s kindlier things,
This timelessness, created out of change:
A ballerina, spotlit from within,
Trailing her lovely, half-extended wings.

*****

Julia Griffin writes: “I feel the form works with the subject-matter. This was inspired, of course, by the news story – and the way it seemed to reverse Yeats’ great poem by making the swan a deliverer from helplessness.”

Julia Griffin lives in south-east Georgia/ south-east England. She has published in Light, LUPO, Mezzo Cammin, and some other places, though Poetry and The New Yorker indicate that they would rather publish Marcus Bales than her.
Her poem ‘Wasp Waste’ was reprinted in the Potcake Chapbook ‘Robots and Rockets‘, and much more of her poetry can be found in Light, at https://lightpoetrymagazine.com/?s=julia+g&submit=Search

Photo: “swanlake c Lotte Reiniger” by janwillemsen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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