As music curves through the body, the swing of it
lifting mind's invisible feet, so it happened
a ballet I'd gone to in the days after breaking up
with someone who had found me rather clumsy
left behind a troupe of swans in my heart.
Now the inner band played on, a waltz as searing
as a light too brightly shining in a room that should be dark,
and the swans, pirouetting through the dark
and joyful moments of the plot, took my heart
dancing, till the grief that remained
turned to a mood of gentle swanning
through the fine, vacated ballroom of the mind;
till the swans evaporated with a cry.
'Swan Lake' was commissioned as part of the Red Room Poetry education initiative, Papercuts, which begun in 2007 and involved numerous workshop series run by poets across dozens of Australian schools. Judith Bishop wrote this poem for Sunning Hill School students, with whom she worked to explore and respond to provocations from the Cabinet of Lost and Found learning resource in 2010.
Sunning Hill was the first juvenile justice education facility to be involved in Papercuts. You can read more about the experience - and view an accompanying student poem - via this article from the Sydney Morning Herald. The final results of the project were shared at a special collaborative reading event attended by students from Sunning Hill, Bankstown Girls' and Pymble Ladies' College on Monday 13th December, 2010.