Friday, May 28, 2010


First there was the swan photo. When I took it, I was just a few steps away from the two swans. I am sure they noticed me, but they had this distanced, unimpressed air around them. There was something peculiar about that moment; one of the swans floating in the water, the other standing at the edge of the lake, and me, standing at the lakeside.

I knew I wanted to write about this mood, this edging in. I didn’t know where to start, though.

Fast forward a week, another waterside. Me there, with Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway. The green Penguin edition, with two penguins on the cover. I read the first thirty pages, then later browsed them again, noting down words, half-lines, in word play: even now, at this hour; beauty was behind, making it up, all this one, the motor car with its blinds drawn, passing invisibly....

The next day, I read on. And came across this line: “There was an emptiness about the heart of life; an attic room. Women must put off their rich apparel.”

It was this attic room that took shape. And a woman. In a society of swans. That’s how the poem unfolded.

Dorothee Lang is a writer, web freelancer, traveller and gardener. She lives in Germany, edits the BluePrintReview and Daily s-Press, and keeps a sky diary. Sometimes she dreams of having wings. Recent publications include HA&L, elimae, Spiral Orb, a handful of stones, The, and eclectica. For more about her, visit her website.

Addendum by the Ed: more about Dorothee's poem, here.

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