Treasure Island

Randall Jarrell

(May 6, 1914 – October 14, 1965 / Nashville)

The Black Swan


When the swans turned my sister into a swan
I would go to the lake, at night, from milking:
The sun would look out through the reeds like a swan,
A swan's red beak; and the beak would open
And inside there was darkness, the stars and the moon.

Out on the lake, a girl would laugh.
"Sister, here is your porridge, sister,"
I would call; and the reeds would whisper,
"Go to sleep, go to sleep, little swan."
My legs were all hard and webbed, and the silky

Hairs of my wings sank away like stars
In the ripples that ran in and out of the reeds:
I heard through the lap and hiss of water
Someone's "Sister . . . sister," far away on the shore,
And then as I opened my beak to answer

I heard my harsh laugh go out to the shore
And saw - saw at last, swimming up from the green
Low mounds of the lake, the white stone swans:
The white, named swans . . . "It is all a dream,"
I whispered, and reached from the down of the pallet

To the lap and hiss of the floor.
And "Sleep, little sister," the swan all sang
From the moon and stars and frogs of the floor.
But the swan my sister called, "Sleep at last, little sister,"
And stroked all night, with a black wing, my wings.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: sister, sleep, swimming, moon, girl, green, red, water, dream, night, sun, star, frog, running

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Black Swan by Randall Jarrell )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  9. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Make your Mothers Day, Damian Murphy
  2. Good Morning, Anuradha Bhattacharyya
  3. soon to be extinct.., veeraiyah subbulakshmi
  4. On the Bed of Death, Pintu Mahakul
  5. Solitary Meanings, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  6. Heal the Mind oh Healer, Pintu Mahakul
  7. Where Are You?, angela mann
  8. letting moments turn to hours, Manonton Dalan
  9. i can't help it but smile too, Manonton Dalan
  10. Learning Essence Of A Poet, RoseAnn V. Shawiak

Poem of the Day

poet George Gordon Byron

So we'll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart still be as loving,
And the moon still be as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
...... Read complete »

 

Modern Poem

 

Member Poem

[Hata Bildir]