The Black Swan


the black swan

Black on flat water past the jonquil lawns
Riding, the black swan draws
A private chaos warbling in its wake,
Assuming, like a fourth dimension, splendor
That calls the child with white ideas of swans
Nearer to the green lake
Where every paradox means wonder.

Though the black swan’s arched neck is like
A question-mark on the lake,
The swan outlaws all possible questioning:
A think in itself, like love, like submarine
Disaster, or the first sound we wake;
And the swan-song it sings
Is the huge silence of the swan.

Illusion: the black swan knows how to break
Through expectation, beak
Aimed now at its own breast, now at its image,
And move across our lives, if the lake is life,
And by the gentlest turning of its neck
Transform, in time, time’s damage;
To less than a black plume, time’s grief.

Enchanter: the black swan has learned to enter
Sorrow’s lost secret center
Where like a maypole separate tragedies
Are wound about a tower of ribbons, and where
The central hollowness is that pure winter
That does not change but is
Always brilliant ice and air.

Always the black swan moves n the lake; always
The blond child stands to gaze
As the tall emblem pivots and rides out
To the opposite side, always. The child upon
The bank, hands full of difficult marvels, stays
Forever to cry aloud
In anguish: I love the black swan.

James Merrill

The Kingfisher

the kingfisher

The Kingfisher perches. He studies.

Escaped from the jeweller’s opium
X-rays the river’s toppling
Tangle of glooms.

Now he’s vanished—into vibrations.
A sudden electric wire, jarred rigid,
Snaps—with a blue flare.

He has left his needle buried in your ear.

Oafish oaks, kneeling, bend over
Dragging with their reflections
For the sunken stones. The Kingfisher
Erupts through the mirror, beak full of ingots,

And is away—cutting the one straight line
Of the raggle-taggle tumbledown river
With a diamond—

Leaves a rainbow splinter sticking in your eye.

Through him, God, whizzing in the sun,
Glimpses the angler.

Through him, God
Marries a pit
Of fishy mire.

And look! He’s
—gone again.
Spark, sapphire, refracted
From beyond water
Shivering the spine of the river.

Ted Hughes

humans (also) welcome


In Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge, the Argentine writer, Jorge Louis Borges, makes an absurd list of animals. It’s a great play on how humans classify.


It contains:

  • Those that belong to the emperor
  • Embalmed ones
  • Those that are trained
  • Suckling pigs
  • Mermaids (or Sirens)
  • Fabulous ones
  • Stray dogs
  • Those that are included in this classification
  • Those that tremble as if they were mad
  • Innumerable ones
  • Those drawn with a very fine camel hair brush
  • Et cetera
  • Those that have just broken the flower vase
  • Those that, at a distance, resemble flies

Had this essay not been written in 1942, one could be forgiven for wondering whether Borges hadn’t simply spent a day or two in Second Life.

Because one could make a similar list of creatures seen at Furillen:

  • horses, ridden and disco dancing
  • dragons, both ridden and those breathing fire
  • giant penises, flying and jumping
  • dogs, long and with sunken eyes
  • wolves, that are really huskies
  • pineapples, merrily dancing
  • foxes, walked and worn down
  • dolls, mechanical and battery powered
  • bananas, griefing and joyless
  • fairies, glittering and wingless
  • birds, huge, large and merely talking
  • hybrid bat mythical creature thing
  • cyber men, rusty and contemplative
  • weasels, belonging to a blogger
  • goats, with ragged dog pack
  • tree, animated and floating
  • cats, prowling pointlessly
  • snow creatures, ghastly-looking
  • janitors, bearded and unkempt
  • gods, afk
  • dancing snowmen, tasteless and crated
  • zombies, bloody and venomous
  • martian, lanky with taser

Anyone care to add to this list? Or throw in some pictures of anything you might have seen but haven’t posted?

Here are some I found in Furillen’s flickr stream – which, incidentally, passed 2500 pictures yesterday, while the visit counter for the sim itself went through the 16,000 mark!

saucer 3

With horse

animals 01 beldroth_002

Two Cats On The Prowl


Bloody Venom out for a stroll

performing against gloom

Silent night

Don't Eat That Yellow Snow

Nitka- SL - Relova

people @ Furillen

Serene Footman

Proof of love.

saucer 2

I also wondered about starting a new flickr stream on the “Creatures of Furillen” theme – perhaps to run alongside one containing some of the great images we already have of people of Furillen.

Feedback, as always, is welcome.