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Not Swans

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Deanne Sleet

on 7 January 2013

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Transcript of Not Swans

"Not Swans" What I Knew Cont. So What? "Not Even This" Further Investigation I drive toward distant clouds and my mother's dying.
The quickened sky is mercury, it slithers
across the horizon. Against that liquid silence,
a V of birds crosses--sudden and silver.

They tilt, becoming white light as they turn, glitter
like shooting stars arcing slow motion out of the abyss,
not falling.

Now they look like chips of flint,
the arrow broken.
I think, This isn't myth-- first line is impactful - stays in your mind a bit

the author is at war with herself
interrupting her own thoughts

mother is dying

the birds represent something to her

mercury, both word and characteristics of
the element, are stated/portrayed

mercury and birds are compared Not Swans some similes
"as they turn, glitter like shooting stars arcing slow motion out of the abyss"

mercury "slithers across the horizon" In her poem "Not Swans," similar to a stream of consciousness of sorts, Susan Ludvigson repeatedly interrupts her use of imagery, similes, and personification to numb the reader of the main point of the poem, that her mother is dying. Not even this time,
Moment could beget feelings
As I hate this place.

A terrible cold,
Concealing my past and yours.
Yet you stared at birds,

Expressing such bliss,
Full of blatant ignorance.
And you never did-- Susan Ludvigson they are not signs, not souls.

Reaching blue
again, they're ordinary ducks or maybe
Canada geese. Veering away they shoot
into the west, too far for my eyes, aching
as they do.

Never mind what I said
before. Those birds took my breath. I knew what it meant. Hate this place, I mean.
But you smiled when I could not
Not even did you-- wait...

You were never there.
Well never mind what I said.
I knew what I meant. the mercury and the birds
convey the author's mother dying

the author's interruptions = signs of panicking

imagery is used
"against that liquid silence, a V or birds crosses--sudden and silver."
Full transcript