Poem 16 – Swans in Transition

Spying us across the verdant water
The transitioning signet swims urgently
Dragging a deep dart in its wake
Once brown it’s noble ark now speckled
Flattens, reaching, pleading
Demanding food with a desperate shush

Scattered pellets bob summoning
Mottled siblings and parents to join
The royal throng that turns and tussles
Graceful wings raised in display
Becoming fierce enforcers of superiority
Sharp snaps send snowy feathers adrift

With pecking order firmly fixed
The mature monarch rules the roost
Yet young usurpers yearn for their chance
Raising their wings and wrestling
Until food finished joining those forced to flee
Calming, becoming again the beautiful bank*

Most days we take a tub of swan food down to the River Lea. Over the last couple of days there have been a significant number of swans, including yesterday one parent taking its offspring for a dramatic flying lesson. Feeding them today created a fiercely fought frenzy, most unlike the peaceful demeanour they usually display.

* Bank here has a dual meaning referring to both the river bank and the bank of swans, one of their collective nouns.


© Ben Quant 2021

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