Black swans seen

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I recently returned from a weekend in London where Anna and I found this delightful pair of black swans in St James’s Park. They are beautiful birds, as tame as pets, with long, looping necks and bright red beaks the colour of post boxes. They reminded me of the poem by the late James Merill:

Illusion: the black swan knows how to break
Through expectation, beak
Aimed now at its own breast, now at its image,
And move across our lives, if the lake is life,
And by the gentlest turning of its neck
Transform, in time, time’s damage;
To less than a black plume, time’s grief.