Swan Songs for Lancelot and Elaine: Swan Sonnet #2


Lancelot and Elaine swim in Lake Laverne on Jan. 11, 2019.

Nancy Hayes

Editor’s Note: The introduction to the Swan Sonnets can be found here and the first Swan Sonnet can be found here

Along the ripples of our campus lake

below bright bells of campanile’s ring,

with feathers, folded angel’s wings,

two surging swans swim not for beauty’s sake.

Elongate necks in S-curves arch their heads,

their black eyes fierce, orange bills tipped nobly down.

A “feathered glory,” once a poet said,

whose “white rush” pinned poor Leda on the ground:

“A sudden blow: the great wings beating still

above the staggering girl.” In shape of swan

Zeus took of mortal love his fill,

and for her beauty made the maid his pawn.

Our swans are of this earth, their passion real,

their thoughts not ones of love, but their next meal.