On the road from Waterford to Cork, between Castlemartyr and Midleton, there lies a lake by the name of Loughaderra. It’s a popular spot with anglers and birdwatchers alike, and locals have given it the nickname Swan Lake. I found out why when I passed by recently. A stunning stretch of water burst into view and I was compelled to pull over to watch the sun set in the company of dozens of snow-white swans.
Sitting by the side of the road enjoying the slow dance of those graceful creatures, while behind me, unseen, the hum of rush hour traffic started to build, I was reminded of a poem by Mary Oliver.
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?
B E A U T I F U L !
Thank you! 🙂
Those photos are stunning and I love the poem too.
Glad you liked it, Kalpanaa, the first time I read that poem, it moved me to tears. Still does, really. Those last three lines… xxx
Swans are great, they’re like geese but prettier and less mean jerk-faces. Great photos and thanks for sharing the poem.
Haha, you sound like someone who has had a bad experience with a mean jerk-face goose, your comment just made me laugh out loud. So glad you enjoyed the poem, it’s one of my favourites. xxx
Lovely photos, Ailsa, and I enjoyed the poem as well.
Thanks Janet. xxx Ailsa
That’s so beautiful.
Such a poem.
This really looks like a Swan Lake ballet scene.
There were mesmerizing to watch, phil, I could have stayed there for hours (but for the sun going down). 🙂
Time well spent!
Terrific composition Ailsa.
Thanks Jane. The swans did most of the work 😉 Just had a quick peep at your site, some stunning shots there, just had to hit the follow button. Looking forward to seeing more. xxx a
Hi Ailsa– That’s so nice– thank you so much.
Mary Oliver is my favorite poet, and I had not read this poem. Her poems point us to something more for a fleeting instant, and then we forget again. Thanks for printing the swan poem. I will save it.
She;s fabulous, isn’t she, Carol? I’m so glad I was able to introduce you to this poem, it gets me all emotional every time I read it. xxx
I was recently at a retreat where her poems were read out loud. Then they are even more powerful. They go to a place in the human spirit that most poets just do not touch (for me, I know they do for others)
beautiful words & images!
reminds me of the swans
that graced the canal
where i lived in Amsterdam 🙂
Oh how lovely to have that view when you walk out your front door. 🙂
Love the lighting in this photo!
Love that second image, Ailsa!
So beautiful and graceful; and yet, swans can be so vicious. I photographed a fight between a swan and a mama duck who was trying to keep the swan from killing her little duckling. It was quite an event!
Here is the link to the post: https://beautyalongtheroad.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/forces-of-nature/
Oh that’s terrifying, that poor little duckling!
I loved the place, used to walk down to it when I lived in Midleton for a while… now I live where Perth, Western Australia is famous for it’s black swans and even named their river after them.
Amazing. Who wouldn’t pull over and stop what they were doing for that? No one I want to know.
Such glorious birds … you show them off beautifully here in that light Ailsa !
I just love the poem too … so evocative .
The last line – especially – thankyou for the reminder of one of my favourite poems