Cygnus Grieving

By Elizabeth Crowell

Under the sisters who wept themselves to barked trees,

whose leaves will float down the stream

and decorate the Roman wives,

Cygnus gripped his friend’s stone grave

when all at once Apollo,

who could not change at all from his grief,

pulled the boy’s hands to gripless wings.

White feathers filled the blistered skin

and the eyes that had seen Phaethon,

foolish and doomed,

flaming like a comet unhooked,

blinked to beads

on either side of a sudden beak.

Faithful swan, the boy floated

through the ambers tears,

immortal with grief,

where unlit glades grow so deep

shadows cannot reach.




Elizabeth Crowell is a poet and chair of the English department at Lexington High School in Lexington, Massachusetts.  Her work has recently appeared in BELLEVUE LITERARY REVIEW, SPECTRUM and POETLORE.

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