Living Like the Swans
Marriage is for the birds, I think
Nesting symbols of monogamy and devotion
Handsome eagles, tiny hummingbirds, the gaudy peacock
For me, mostly, mute swans
Do they know we revere them?
Stand-ins for our search for lifelong love?
I think not.
But when I see their
Graceful arching necks
Meeting to form a white heart on blue water
Could there be a bird more romantic?
In flight, their strong wings beat together,
Lessening the resistance.
It seems impossible, that such a mass of feathers and bone
Can lift into the sky
Defying gravity and all that makes sense
When we find our mate
We swim together through all sorts of waters:
Still, peaceful, turbulent, stormy, stagnant.
And when it is time, we take to the shore, and nestle together
Tucking noses into cozy wings.
Leda was not swayed by Zeus's human form
So he assumed the shape of a cob, the male of the swan
Not a panther, nor wolf, nor serpent
To seduce the young maiden.
When we find our own swan
To form that heart on life's waters,
We must listen to the voice that says,
I do, I will.
We must obey the urge to fly together
Pilgrims towards the country of the married
Quiet in love
The swans swim on,
White clouds on the harbor
And you swim on
Together as one.
HEIDI E. WAKEMAN lives, teaches and writes in Gloucester, MA. A long time writer and community changemaker, Heidi seeks to make sense of the world through words, nature, and the healing power of love. She is currently Storyteller in Residence for the Gloucester Writers Center. Her 2023 word is Invitation.