Black Swan





Dark stranger, what prompted your sudden flight?
Did dispute and rejection bring you here,
Or some long tormented escape from fright?
Did you choose us, or take a random steer?

How long will you stay on this narrow strip
Where people point and grizzling geese call?
Sanctuary found or one stop on a trip?
Will you leave, or set out your nesting stall?

Is it the splash of your paddle power feet
Or the regal red curve of your beak
That tilts my heart to an irregular beat,
Or your ebony fine feathers so sleek?

Four days I watched and marvelled, black swan.
On the fifth, water still; brief magic gone.

Barbara Lawton

I live near a semi-rural stretch of the Leeds Liverpool canal, and geese, ducks and
swans can often be seen be seen on the water. For a few days in January 2020, a
black swan joined this community, inspiring me to write this poem.

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