Swans are some of the most elegant, graceful, dignified, and beautiful creatures I have ever seen. When I mentioned to my son that I so much enjoy seeing the swans on my morning walk along the River Thames to the gym, he mentioned this poem to me right away. I love the graceful beauty of these magnificent birds. They seem to be timeless and unaffected by the worries of the world. But Yeats was not. He wrote this poem as a sad commentary on the grief and pain that comes with change, in his case because of the problems in Ireland.
Instead of reading the poem, just listen to it on this video and let the words wash over you.
If I am honest, I must admit that I am not a great lover of poetry. So why am I featuring one in my new blog? Well, whenever I encounter a poem that has meaning for a time or event in my life, I do pay attention and appreciate this art form more. Yeats captures the power and the pain in change, using the swans as a marvelous image.
What’s noteworthy about Yeats is that unlike many poets, his writing became better as he grew older, and some of his best work was done after he turned 50 – now that’s encouraging!
When a close friend of mine was nearing death from cancer, she told me she had a mystical experience out in a boat on a lake with a number of swans. They were an encouragement to her then, and they are to me now as I settle in a new place, and they were to Yeats. Timeless.