“The swan, like the soul of the poet, by the dull world is ill understood.” — Heinrich Heine
“There’s a double beauty whenever a swan swims on a lake with her double thereon.” — Thomas Hood
“The stately-sailing swan,
Gives out his snowy plumage to the gale;
And arching proud his neck, with oary feet
Bears forward fierce, and guards his osier isle,
Protective of his young.” – James Thomson, The Seasons, Spring
The Wild Swans at Coole
The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All’s changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.
Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.
But now they drift on the still water,
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake’s edge or pool
Delight men’s eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away? — William Butler Yeats
All photos by Donna Hailson.