I went for a walk beside a canal the other day and hope eventually to write a poem about the swans I saw there. Poems can take a long time to actually gel, though, so in the meantime, I’ll leave some preliminary notes here.
There are two swans beside the canal. (What is the word for a paved canal ‘bank’ at a dock area?)
I want to take their photograph, but they have other ideas/are reluctant/won’t oblige/refuse to pose.
Are they shy/bashful?
They keep hiding their heads under their wings, snaking their necks away from the camera; they won’t pose. (Reminds me of Alice when she eats the mushroom and her neck grows like a serpent.)
They curve coy necks, stand awkwardly on one leg like gawky schoolkids. The great/splayed grey webs of their feet are shaped like shields
I am just close enough to read the number code on the ankle tag of one of them. The tag is the same colour as the swan’s beak. It appears to say 36A (which seems a very small measurement for such a generous curve of breast).
Perhaps the problem is that they are vain and aren’t ready to have their photos taken until they’ve titivated and made themselves neat and tidy.
They are very busy grooming themselves, nibbling and preening, riffling their feathers against the grain/the wrong way to get at the roots, they smooth and polish their plumes, buffing their splendid creamy breasts with hard blunt beaks.
I don’t think all of that belongs in the same poem, but we’ll see. Eventually.