Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Water Picture

In the pond in the park 
all things are doubled:
Long buildings hang and 
wriggle gently. Chimneys 
are bent legs bouncing 
on clouds below. A flag 
wags like a fishhook 
down there in the sky.

The arched stone bridge 
is an eye, with underlid 
in the water. In its lens 
dip crinkled heads with hats 
that don't fall off. Dogs go by, 
barking on their backs. 
A baby, taken to feed the 
ducks, dangles upside-down, 
a pink balloon for a buoy.

Treetops deploy a haze of 
cherry bloom for roots, 
where birds coast belly-up 
in the glass bowl of a hill; 
from its bottom a bunch 
of peanut-munching children 
is suspended by their 
sneakers, waveringly.

A swan, with twin necks 
forming the figure 3, 
steers between two dimpled 
towers doubled. Fondly 
hissing, she kisses herself, 
and all the scene is troubled:
water-windows splinter, 
tree-limbs tangle, the bridge 
folds like a fan.

Credit


From Poems Old and New by May Swenson, published by Houghton Mifflin. Copyright © 1994 by the Literary Estate of May Swenson. Used by permission of the Literary Estate of May Swenson. All rights reserved.

Author


May Swenson

May Swenson was born Anna Thilda May Swenson on May 28, 1913.

Date Published: 1994-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/water-picture