Quotes About Swans

Quotes tagged as "swans" (showing 1-18 of 18)
Hans Christian Andersen
“It doesn't matter if you're born in a duck yard, so long as you are hatched from a swan's egg!”
Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

C. JoyBell C.
“If you are stealing people's thunder just by being around and standing there; you really can't expect people to like you. People want their own thunder to be heard loud and wide, not yours! Swans should never despair over ducks not liking them.”
C. JoyBell C.

Rebecca Solnit
“Fairy tales are about trouble, about getting into and out of it, and trouble seems to be a necessary stage on the route to becoming. All the magic and glass mountains and pearls the size of houses and princesses beautiful as the day and talking birds and part-time serpents are distractions from the core of most of the stories, the struggle to survive against adversaries, to find your place in the world, and to come into your own.

Fairy tales are almost always the stories of the powerless, of youngest sons, abandoned children, orphans, of humans transformed into birds and beasts or otherwise enchanted away from their own lives and selves. Even princesses are chattels to be disowned by fathers, punished by step-mothers, or claimed by princes, though they often assert themselves in between and are rarely as passive as the cartoon versions. Fairy tales are children's stories not in wh they were made for but in their focus on the early stages of life, when others have power over you and you have power over no one.

In them, power is rarely the right tool for survival anyway. Rather the powerless thrive on alliances, often in the form of reciprocated acts of kindness -- from beehives that were not raided, birds that were not killed but set free or fed, old women who were saluted with respect. Kindness sewn among the meek is harvested in crisis...

In Hans Christian Andersen's retelling of the old Nordic tale that begins with a stepmother, "The Wild Swans," the banished sister can only disenchant her eleven brothers -- who are swans all day look but turn human at night -- by gathering stinging nettles barehanded from churchyard graves, making them into flax, spinning them and knitting eleven long-sleeved shirts while remaining silent the whole time. If she speaks, they'll remain birds forever. In her silence, she cannot protest the crimes she accused of and nearly burned as a witch.

Hauled off to a pyre as she knits the last of the shirts, she is rescued by the swans, who fly in at the last moment. As they swoop down, she throws the nettle shirts over them so that they turn into men again, all but the youngest brother, whose shirt is missing a sleeve so that he's left with one arm and one wing, eternally a swan-man. Why shirts made of graveyard nettles by bleeding fingers and silence should disenchant men turned into birds by their step-mother is a question the story doesn't need to answer. It just needs to give us compelling images of exile, loneliness, affection, and metamorphosis -- and of a heroine who nearly dies of being unable to tell her own story.”
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

Kamand Kojouri
“If you ask all the cells
in my body,
they only answer your name.
Follicles push the hair upwards
so they may brush
against your skin.
Nails grow faster as well.
Lungs breathe rapidly
in hopes of inhaling your scent.
Toes curl to smile and
knees form dimples when you are near.
Brain fireworks.
Stomach fills with flies of butter
and swallows, and
swans swoon.
Cattle, rhinos, and walruses too—
there’s a stampede when you are near.
I love you from the bottom of my liver
to the tip of my lashes.
One wink from you and heart stops,
like a sneeze. Bless you.
I cannot even begin to tell you
what happens to soul,
for soul is off
flying with its mate.”
Kamand Kojouri

Connie Willis
“Nothing in all those "O swan" poems had ever mentioned that they hissed. Or resented being mistaken for felines. Or bit.”
Connie Willis, To Say Nothing of the Dog
tags: swans

Munia Khan
“Every lake belongs to the quietness desired by the swans.”
Munia Khan

Terri Windling
“Silence is another element we find in classic fairy tales — girls muted by magic or sworn to silence in order to break enchantment. In "The Wild Swans," a princess is imprisoned by her stepmother, rolled in filth, then banished from home (as her older brothers had been before her). She goes in search of her missing brothers, discovers that they've been turned into swans, whereupon the young girl vows to find a way to break the spell. A mysterious woman comes to her in a dream and tells her what to do: 'Pick the nettles that grow in graveyards, crush and spin them into thread, then weave them into coats and throw them over your brothers' backs.' The nettles burn and blister, yet she never falters: picking, spinning, weaving, working with wounded, crippled hands, determined to save her brothers. All this time she's silent. 'You must not speak,' the dream woman has warned, 'for a single world will be like a knife plunged into your brothers' hearts.'

You must not speak. That's what my stepfather said: don't speak, don't cry, don't tell. That's what my mother said as well, as we sat in hospital waiting rooms -- and I obeyed, as did my brothers. We sat as still and silent as stone while my mother spun false tales to explain each break and bruise and burn. Our family moved just often enough that her stories were fresh and plausible; each new doctor believed her, and chided us children to be more careful. I never contradicted those tales. I wouldn't have dared, or wanted to. They'd send me into foster care. They'd send my young brothers away. And so we sat, and the unspoken truth was as sharp as the point of a knife.”
Terri Windling, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales

Margaret Atwood
“It's a wonder they can sit down at all, and when they walk, nothing touches their legs under the billowing skirts, except their shifts and stockings. They are like swans, drifting along on unseen feet; or else like the jellyfish in the waters of the rocky harbour near our house, when I was little, before I ever made the long sad journey across the ocean. They were bell-shaped and ruffled, gracefully waving and lovely under the sea; but if they washed up on the beach and dried out in the sun there was nothing left of them. And that is what the ladies are like: mostly water.”
Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace

Srinidhi.R
“I dream that one day I would be a published writer and people would read my books - if not, I would be living in the mountains in a small hut, near a pond where swans swim, writing a diary for myself.”
Srinidhi.R

Mark Helprin
“The obituary writers drew their incomplete sketches, touring through his life like travelers to England who do not ever see swans, sheep, bicycles, and blue eyes.”
Mark Helprin, Winter's Tale

Joyce Sidman
“Dream of the Tundra Swan

Dusk fell
and the cold came creeping,
cam prickling into our hearts.
As we tucked beaks
into feathers and settled for sleep,
our wings knew.

That night, we dreamed the journey:
ice-blue sky and the yodel of flight,
the sun's pale wafer,
the crisp drink of clouds.
We dreamed ourselves so far aloft
that the earth curved beneath us
and nothing sang but
a whistling vee of light.

When we woke, we were covered with snow.
We rose in a billow of white.”
Joyce Sidman, Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

John Mark Green
“Your heart plays a song like a broken music box, but nothing ever sounded quite so beautiful to me. Together, in the dance of wounded-wing swans we’ll rise above the ruins, melting into the golden light.”
John Mark Green

W.B. Yeats
“The Wild Swans at Coole
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans.


The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold,
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes, when I awake some day
To find they have flown away”
W.B. Yeats
tags: swans

Debora Greger
“Youngest Brother, swan's wing,
where one arm should be, yours the shirt
of nettles short a sleeve
and me with no time left to finish --
I didn't mend you all the way back into man
though I managed for your brothers;
they flit again from court to playing-courts
to courting, while you station yourself,
wing folded from sight, avian eye
to the outside, no rebuke meant but love's.
Was it better then, the living on the water,
the taking to air...?

("Ever After," from the book 'The Poets' Grimm')”
Debora Greger

Melanie Benjamin
“The swans swam ahead, always ahead, their bodies gliding so that none could see the effort of their feet beneath the surface, paddling, moving, propelling them forward, forward, to that beautiful spot far ahead, an incandescent curtain of light, a shower of moonbeams, a heavenly constellation of stars.”
Melanie Benjamin, The Swans of Fifth Avenue

Jim Crumley
“There is nothing in nature which approximates to the idea of a hospice.”
Jim Crumley

E.B. White
“Tonight I heard Louis's horn. My father heard it, too. The wind was right, and I could hear the notes of taps, just as darkness fell. There is nothing in all the world I like better than the trumpet of the swan.”
E.B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan

Munia Khan
“Every morning
before the birds start
trilling me their stories,
I give birth to a new love
through my same old heart
when a lake’s placidity
finds life in the swans breath
Only for you...

From the poem 'Only For You”
Munia Khan, To Evince the Blue

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