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The Swan

"A tribute to Alan Ginsberg's poem 'Sunflower Sutra'."
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Published 9 years ago
 I walked along the banks of Loch Erne and

sat down under the shadow of an Alder tree,

to look at the sunset over Fermanagh mountains

and islands and meditate.

Jacques Jardel sat beside me on a fallen

tree trunk, philosopher; we felt the same

sadness of the soul, now almost a shadow

of the intensity of years ago, surrounded

by the relentless rain, and bogs of Ireland

This Loch still had small fish, hard to see,

but glittering in the light that filtered through

the clouds, making rainbows above the water,

Just ourselves, quiet in the presence of nature

fitting together like a well used jigsaw pieces.

Look a swan, he said; there was a long necked

bird gliding down the water, neck arched in symmetry

I strained to see if it was a gentle, dumb swan or

an angry goose, aggressively opening its bill to

shout out warning, threats so able to frighten

and peck at our knees and run after us as we flee;

as I did when I was a child on my first day out of

the city that crowded me in. The tarmacked earth

and noisy traffic that were like predators, kept

back from killing by the constraints of the road

only occasionally swerving off the road to crash

and glass shattering, metal bending, people bleeding

wrenched the otherwise ordered city life.

Unable to breath in the claustrophobic life of a child,

living in an apartment block, the neighbours complaining

about the noise, we children made playing in the echoing

well of the stairs, sliding down the balusters, clanging

sticks against the spokes of an old rusty bike that we

stole from the bonfire. An old woman rusty like the

bike with gnarled fingers pointing at us, her legs

bending from wear, deceitful eyes like a snake’s, shrieking

Get out of the building you noisy vermin. And we ran and

laughed and played I’m the King of the Castle glad

that we were not old and miserable but young enough

to fall and get up like a slender bluebell that has been

trod on by a careless dog.

There in the countryside was no containment, like roads for

cars and trucks, to keep the wild animals in a separated world

than the swarming hordes of people going to work in the

dark and gloomy city, where cranes bend like Tyrannosaurus Rex

over the river that oozed with pollutants that I swum in once.

Yes it is a beautiful swan and how wonderful is your wake smooth and serene

on the glass mirror of the lake.

We two are like swans, mated for life. Our young fresh innocent spirits

kept forever in the bodies that have aged still shine and mingle.

So I leaned towards my soul mate and let my body feel his warmth,

never more to feel separate or have the need to be isolated and

swimming on the sea of fear. We two sitting on the banks for the Loch

breathing in the clear country air, rejoicing in the blood orange blushing

sunset of the ancient, glacier made stunning Loch

and we look down on ourselves floating in the ether.

Diane Jardel, 31.12.11

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