The Swan’s Reflection: two sides of a postcard, by George Szirtes

16 December 2013

After Caroline Wright

Cygnus (picture side)

I am calligraphy. On salt marsh, on the village pond,
I write my name in arabesques. I speak white
To the cloud and the clouded water.
I am the furthest quarter
Of the starless night
And beyond.

I am breast
And wind and moon
And the sheer distance
Of constellations, the persistence
Of desire, the nebulae of systems soon
To vanish: cry and echo, curvature and rest.


Reverse (message) side

Call now.
The phone is on mute.
There is no speech, no language
Lodged in those empty spaces, no gauge
That can measure a distance so silent and absolute
We cannot address it in words, because we don’t know how.

Listen to the street. The voices in shops, in the bus queue,
On the platform. Something curves back at us,
Some echo, arabesque, a kind of pageant,
Like the rhythms of an imagined
Language: sign, Cygnus,
Me, you.


Read in and ripped from Silkworms Ink’s online chapbook Volume L, an anthology selected from their first 49 online chapbooks. Certainly a mixed set in various forms. For something different, Jen Spyra’s ‘The Groovers Tour Chicago’ had me smiling by the end.


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