Black Swans

Swans nest, swans flock
From Kennet Mouth to Sonning Lock.
The food of Kings, I’d heard:
Regal, distant, unperturbed,
As white as any wedding frock.

Scan their lines; you will see
My only friend for life and me,
Ranked as equals, yet apart,
A spike in nature’s colour chart,
As dusty black as swans could be.

Gulls, pigeons overhead,
Through gargling geese with wings a-spread
We break a passage, pulling rank,
And watchful, wait beside the bank,
Wait for children, wait for bread.

Children gather, children stand.
Stale crusts fly from sticky hands.
And some we catch in flight
To trigger squeals of raw delight.
The bargain goes as planned!

Crumbs shaken, home for tea.
Brides departed, not so we.
Two black swans still talk
With those who’d by a river walk:
My friend for life and me.

Simon Mayor