Swan Songs for Lancelot and Elaine: Swan Sonnet #1


Photographer: Alec J Giljohann

Swan on Lake LaVerne, October 19, 2016.

Nancy Hayes

Editor’s Note: The introduction to the Swan Sonnets can be found here.

Two graceful swans glide past on Lake Laverne — 

medieval lovers Lancelot, Elaine

of Mallory’s romance from Arthur’s reign,

whose fateful tryst Queen Guinevere’s ire earned —

pulse forward, forceful paddlers, single file,

necks strained, one shifts toward southwest bank

to ruffle wings at geese that would pull rank:

this pond is ours; beware our wrath to rile,

the other surges toward the northern side

to chase another goose that dared to swim,

and I, with pen in hand, take all this in,

when Lancelot sprints back across to chide

a sillier goose who thought she wasn’t part

of this — her modern idyll, not just art.