A Moment of Swans

Reflections on Writing and Friendship


Your plan for today was to write hard and fast,

Control, seize and capture the words that would last

the test of all time, beyond human recall,

Instead you are daydreaming and your fingers have stalled.


‘Remember this moment!’ she loudly declared,

‘What moment?’  You ask her whilst climbing the stairs,

‘We are young, we are beautiful,’ her arms open wide,

You push past her giggling – her arms fall to her sides.


You stride round the loch on a bright afternoon,

Breath mistily nipping; two swans rest on a dune

surrounded by frozen ice shards and tall reeds,

You suddenly remember your bag of bird seed.


‘This time it won’t easily happen again.

You can’t take it for granted. It’s not normal. It will end.’

You pour her another large glass of white wine,

‘I know it’s not normal, but we’ll still chat, we’ll be fine.’


The clock says it’s nearly quarter to three,

The others are writing, fingers thrumming on keys,

You haven’t achieved what you set out to do,

Dreamily procrastinating, given your torn nail a chew.


You sit on the toilet, she’s brushing her teeth,

Between vigorous scrubbing she’s giving you grief

about dying your hair, covering your grey with dark brown

‘This is how patriarchy brings feminism down.’


Beyond the warm window the swans have flown on,

The loch sings its ice song, whilst folk walk along

its cold winter shoreline on grass that is dead,

A man carries breadcrumbs, maybe the swans will be fed…


You curl up beside her, rest your head on her back,

‘Hey love, are your toes warm?’ You smile into the black

and gloom of the room, this moment you’ll remember –

Bury it deep in your womb.


The daylight is fading, time’s ticking on,

You haven’t the energy to find words that belong,

A few flakes of snow drift down from the sky,

One swan has returned, flaps its wings, gives a cry.


One thought on “A Moment of Swans

  1. I have read and re read this poem and it catches me out each time.The rise and the fall of verses mimic the water and the swans wings, together with the dip in and out of the present and the past.This could make it just very rthymic but instead there is a word or a word picture that results in that catching of my breath and it surprises me and makes me read it again to find out why, what happened . Thnakfully my analytic searching is once again subdued by the rise and fall and the dipping in and out and I re-enter the whole experience again . This is why I love poetry, the poem is the master not the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

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