The night swans

The night swans

Soon night will come and more,
glide past my face with calm beauty
   like swans on a lake,
a faint presence against the darkening shore.
With a silent flutter of wings
a rush of memories fills the wood:
silver moons like birds startled to the sky
   and far below
where once the tree house stood,
   stand I.
But now the pines cast shadows
   green upon my lungs
and in the silence I can hear
the slow, rhythmic breathing
   of night
and faint hooves of deer.
Soon I’ll merge with the stillness,
  join the shadows,
sink into the dark, rich soil
   by water's edge.
Yes, I think death will come like that,
like a soft cry from heaven:
six white swans
emerging
from the dusk
on a calm, still lake...
and I shall make seven.

originally published in Swans along the Sunlit Path, slightly revised Oct. 2005