The Swans on a Sandbar | Ray Osborn | The Hypocrite Reader

Ray Osborn

The Swans on a Sandbar


For Alice Alsup
June 26, 1990 ­ June 9, 2014


How unbeautiful

that they do not fly or glide across the water,     against the current,      easy as standing still.
But they stand still on this desert oasis.

They have found peace on the sandbar, away

from the     unpredictable pull of current     and tide     water still like icy sheets
taunting of hungers unfulfilled.

I don’t blame them,     for they are beautiful,     and somehow manage symmetry in fives.
The chintzy one in the middle insists on distance,

she must be seen,
she must be free to fold

and unfold those wings as if swelling brassy.

Sometimes I wish I were watching you as this swan.     The two of you

would have circled the world countless times     if only to prove you could, with ease,
bringing back quiet wisdom of a rowdy love.

If only to come back.     So that you could rest on the sandbar,     serene,

as one regal soul flaunting recognition.

This will not be your last swan song.