The Swan Maiden – Stella Wulf

The Swan Maiden

I was reared in a cob and straw clutch
a plot hatched from a jaundiced yolk,
laid on the hollow of her dead belly,
or that’s what he told me.
‘No one wants an ugly duckling,’ he said.

Pinioned by his earthly needs,
I lumbered to his call. Night
after night, I let fly my bombilations,
a trumpeting lament, taken up
by the wind, threshing on a wing chord.

A dawning sun rises in my gorge,
sears the salt lakes of my eyes,
beats at my body’s cage.
My gut unravels – knots to a skein,
catching my breath in its mesh

as I lift from his battered chest,
a pellicle of white skin and down,
a pleated vane of coverts,
the earthy scent of summer rain,
pulsing a madness through my veins.

Slipping back into the stolen shift,
I open my wings, stretch out my neck,
taste the iron in the spreading pool,
observe my reflection in the slick.
‘See now, how fair I am?’


Stella’s poems have been published both in print and online magazines and appear in several anthologies including, The Very Best of 52, three drops from a cauldron, and the Clear Poetry Anthology.

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