Eglingham Children and Swan on Beach, Northumberland, England (2002) by Tim Walker
Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
Tim and I became fast friends during a slow walk under the hot sun in the South of France. We'd just been served lunch on the grounds of a fancy estate and slipped away to stroll down to a pond where two handsome and terrifying swans made their home. We were curious to have a look at those magnificent creatures, but careful not to get too close.