Saturday, January 14, 2012

Swan In Snow

Swan in Snow
By Claire Bowden

The sound of singing reached her. It was all that reached her. Ah, if only that were true.
The aching hearts that poured their desperate cries into the river ... even with her own mighty powers they were never truly quiet.

It was snowing. She walked through the snow. It was snowing because it should snow. Out there were winter festivals, and how were the people to celebrate living through winter if a proper winter didn’t come? The poetic snow of How It Should Be fell softly and delicately upon the soft and delicate, and the indelicate members of the cotery made themselves scarce. She was thinking.

A beautiful voice swirled with the snow flakes; This journey, this ancient journey... she knew what it sang of ... to winding roads ... felt it ... and walls of stone ... in every vane and barb and deep into the centre of her. It goes on, it goes on so long...

She knew snow should be cold, but she chose not to feel it. She wondered when she had last let herself feel anything. When had she last laughed? Things had been different, when she’d been found. Just another grubby duck eking out a living. The joy, oh the bliss and ecstasy as they had folded her prized velvet waistcoat away and asked her to describe what she would wear now. The turning over of fabrics and the examining of jewels. The admirers, old and new, come to sing and show and do...

And will we never be free, of this melancholy?

She did not cry. But now there was routine in their devotion, sycophancy in their verse. Or perhaps it was in her head. Love me! Love me! she heard every day from directions as myriad as the melting diamonds that settled on her plumage, but it was always tinged with doubt. Storks and Cranes had shown her the purest love but it always had to be polished after a few months. No one, not even the most skilled had learned how to preserve that beautiful, glittering moment indefinitely.

A body and a land that is no nearer... what had she achieved? A great many things. What did she have to show? She could not now think. Wild horses will race on... the dream will go so ... what is there to pull them? ... on and on. Relentless.

She sighed. She let go. There was joy, bliss, ecstasy waiting for a cygnet who had waited long enough. She let herself drop from the frosted balcony at the end of the walk, plummeting towards peace, and felt something at last.

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