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The Swans


I peered over the conquered space
Water was calm and bottle-blue
And pancaked nervous light years
Into a murmured liquid snore

From the velvet runway leading
Ganglionic men to a distant town
A white ghost floated inaudibly
Drowning some winking points

I was staring down heaven's throat
My love flashed briefly through
The night grass of the slender towpath
A barge of white feathers played dice

Collecting fragments of the moon's
Reflection split by the lolling breeze
I might have pulled her from the depths
Or was that the song of the wind

My love's lamplight crossed the stern
Mirroring the cold act of the stars
One light swung back and forth
Tracing a question upon the canal

Her white hand drew ripples there
Streaking black ink across the swan
And startling the pillow of reeds
That wished this way and that

A raindrop snared the surface
The ghost slipped off the bank
Uttering grassy whispers
As the pale shape of her approached

I felt the pursing wave-whoosh
As she brushed a bullrush aside
Her gentle foot-falls married the earth
To her lamp. She smiled and we kissed.

And just then the swan arched a wing
Over the oily black. I turned to her
And she picked a constellation down
From a sky now smudged in the dark


© David Incoll 2001


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Copyright by David Incoll 2001