© 2008 -- 2011 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First draft

Here's the first draft of a poem based on a Japanese folk tale. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I got the tale from a student a number of years ago along with several others. She was writing them down and giving them to me so she could practice English in the Writing Lab. I'm thinking of building a series of poems around them.


A farmer and his wife, barren past their youth
Find a young swan with hurt wing and take it home.
They place a box for a bed just inside their front door 
And feed it rice before they  retire,
Saddened by the fearful noise it made when they picked it up,
Glad to be able to help,
Glad to offer love.

In the morning on a rug inside their front door,
A teenage girl curls beside the empty box,
Sleeps fitfully dreaming, she says when she wakes,
Of water like a mirror in the morning sun
And a strange but lovely face she did not know
Staring up at her from below the water's surface
And dreaming, she says, of open space.
It's like falling up instead of down.
Father, she says, can I have more rice?
And, Mother, these clothes feel strange.
Can you show me how to wear them?

© copyright 2010 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic Blog.
All rights reserved


  1. You know I have trouble with poetry, so I'll take a stab at this. The injured swan turns into a beautiful girl. The reason? They wished for something to care for? A second shot at parenting. I really don't know, but I gave it my best.

    Can you tell why one of my worst graded classes was literature? My instructor said I was too logical in my thought process. True, but it served me well at work.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  2. This is a lovely poem. It as resonances of fairy tales. You have captured such a haunting melancholy and longing in the beauty of your words. A rare sensibility.

  3. It speaks to me of love, longing, caring; givers and recipients of love being in different worlds (as is often the case with parent & child); it speaks of not being comforable in one's own skin (as if often the case of poets who tell the story).

    Most important, it provides the reader with a small yet vivid picture.

  4. There you go again, word mechanic-ing....