Swans down

whooper swan photoart & poem - 2017 Laura Granby
photoart and poem – © 2017 Laura Granby

Messengers from the hyperborean regions
bearing winter on their backs they seek the South now
bright beacons of beak pulse in whitewash formations
carved from Icelandic births, theirs an arrow-headed arrival
falling through clouds and dusting the landscape like snow
wing beats and wild whoops announce their coming
we hail our visitors as heroes of the thousand frozen miles
they have kept faith with the cycle

like these migrants we too have harnessed the winds
farmed out land to armies of white, shimmering sentinels
electrifying air by the mere miracle of revolution
all along the flight paths, the feeding grounds,
columnar collisions, ever-ready blades for the execution

the arrival of Whooper swans heralds the imminence of our winter – see Whooper Swans video

Lilian asks us to include ‘visit’ or its derivation in our poetics poem: “Leave the Porch Light On

15 Comments on “Swans down

  1. There is such a risk with those blades… everything we do can cause harm… but I do love that someone find our winters mild enough to stay… but I realize that whooper swans have passed already heading south,


  2. Falling through the clouds – that is a unique image and so filled with truth and symbolism. This poem is pumped up with pictures. Great!


  3. what an awesome sight to behold, and what a way to announce winter’s coming, I have such admiration for these tenacious creatures. beautiful poem


  4. At night in Indiana the wind turbines have red lights going on and off. I wonder if these birds can use that to avoid them. Nice video of them skidding to a landing.


    • ignominious endings sometimes for these visitors but many return year after year to the same areas with the same mate and their wild beauty persists


  5. This is an amazing post, Laura. Thanks so much for posting to the prompt.
    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a whooping swan but your words allow me some insights here and an understanding of their fragile yet at the same time strong beauty. I especially love these lines:
    “wing beats and wild whoops announce their coming
    we hail our visitors as heroes of the thousand frozen miles
    they have kept faith with the cycle”
    …and how frightening that our attempts to harness the winds can be their demise.
    This is just an excellent write!


    • PS: Forgot to mention….the title is an apt one that portends the sadness that can befall these beautiful creatures. Or….it can also be a foretelling of their return in migration, following their incredible cycle of behaviors….their whoops and flying into our lives once again.


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