So soon the cygnets to full swans have grown
So swiftly did the chirping ducklings
Waddle into adulthood
How soon did august arrive beneath their fluffy down
The lake is streaked with the wind lanes of the autumn fast falling
The leaves drift in the combed surf
The world is leaning to the last bend of its orbit
The birds are lining on the pylons and looking south again.
That summer too for us turned so swiftly
From that first gentle kiss
To all the odours I balmed in from your warm flesh
After our first lovemaking on a balmy night , on your lawn.
How soon is your daughter gently changing
From girl to womanhood so soon
She saw me in church at the funeral
Her open brow frowned ; momentarily perplexed .
A lot like yours way back when
The corn was still ripe in the fields
And the late summer wind shook the sheafs ;just enough
To warn me that all I had could so soon be lost.
The chill came earlier in the evening , but I didn’t sense it
The weariness in your heart was bearing down on you and I could not tell it
The corn was cut early that autumn , but the tender stalks of your love
Had broken earlier ; and I hadn’t felt a thing.
Had I held that summer in suspense
Held the wind lanes ; stayed the swaying sheafs of corn
Stopped the duckling down from turning to full feather
Held the warm scent of your body in my nostrils
Had I ; should I ; could I ; might I
Held everything in abeyance ; till when?
Until another tide washed over me
When I might waken in another cornfield perhaps.
Or like Canute , still sitting in that sea ; like a fool
My vanity holding back the tide ; my biddable subjects staring at the waves.
But the down to feather it will still grow
And the corn will fall again against the sythe of autumn
The song birds on the pylons will still gather and look south
And the wind lanes still throw their white ribbons down the lake
And autumn leaves will gather in their surf , and sink
And the world will turn again ; its home journey into autumn
They say the dying swan senses her coming demise
And goes alone to her place among the bulrushes
Like red Indian chiefs ; to die in dignity alone
She brings both her sorrows and her pride , and relinquishes herself to the reeds
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