Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Swans in Beacon Hill Park


I spent the whole day rambling - and more sleepy than awake - 
I stopped atop the arched Stone Bridge that spans Goodacre Lake.
A stirring so exquisite - there from out of misted veils -
two regal swans appeared like ghosts:  white orbs on silver trails.
They raised their graceful thin long necks - and on wings like downy spreads,
they glided straight towards me and they cocked their snowy heads. 
For several perfect moments, what transpired - beyond words: 
a palpable connection to that scene and the two birds. 
And then as if on some mute cue, the two swans moved as one 
and softly sailed together to the depths from where they'd come. 
Four decades now have passed since then, yet I still recall the sight: 
of that eerie gentle specter, on that supernatural night.

And then today I mentioned (when I chanced to meet someone) 
that I'd seen a haunting vision, in the town that they were from.
And they told me that the swans were gone, because of many things.
But mainly - they believed - it was the  pinioning of their wings.
Swans living in captivity are clipped so they can't fly.
That makes them very vulnerable to pets and passersby.
But when their wings were not pinioned the swans would fly away.
They were birds and born to fly.
Why would a free bird stay?
Such is the story of all life; some truths are meant to be. 
Real beauty cannot be captured -  
and wild things must live free.

Photo:  The Swans in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria, British Columbia – W. Bourke

© 2011 Wendy Bourke


  1. amen. if we take the wild away, dont they lose a bit of their beauty?
    saw a few swans over the vacation...i wonder at their wings now...
    makes me a little sad for them....

  2. Yes yes yes.. This is just an awesome write.. I love the message as well as the gentle cadence of your poem. Fortunately we have plenty of wild swans nesting where we live, so during summer they are there, but during winter they are gone.

  3. Gorgeous. I can envision this published Wendy. Excellent, excellent work.

  4. Real beauty cannot be captured -
    and wild things must live free.

    Great ending with wise thoughts Wendy! What we most desire are often stunted by others who cause obstacles against our wishes for selfish reasons. The way of the world. Wonderful write!


  5. we've so imprisoned ourselves in the cage of desire that we cannot let anyone free...that's the tragedy of human kind...very touching lines Wendy..

  6. This is sort of a "rhyming prose poem." You do the rhymes with such ease. A thoughtful poem!

    Why would a free bird stay? Why indeed? Very thought-provoking, layered.

  7. Just gorgeous Wendy--yes--love this rhyming prose--