The Swan

For qbit’s prompt over at dVerse this Haibun Monday. A haibun is a non-fictional short writing (one or two paragraphs) closed by a season haiku.  it is an ancient Japanese poetic form and was created by Basho.

The Swan
The lone swan sailed over the bits of water that was left unfrozen in the dead of winter. To this day I don’t know why she lighted down there, alone. Her flock had long since left her and so she swam in pitiful small circles, occasionally upending to feed on small fish and water lily roots. My mother and I remarked on her aloness and wondered why. I was afraid the hunters would do her in and my mother worried about coyotes and wild dogs dragging her to land and devouring her. But still she swam in her pitiful small circles. One day in not-quite-spring, we drove by the swamp area to find it white with swans. We pulled on the side of the road watching them and listening to their honking. As one, they rose to the sky and the swamp was empty. The swan had taken flight with her flock. I spoke to a game warden later who said the sawn may have been sick or injured. She was left behind to heal or die. My mother and I were both pleased she had healed and left behind the strange landscape of the swamp to be with her flock.
frozen water –
circles getting smaller
as a swan swims

34 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 15:31:41

    The story of the swan left alone of course reminds me of the story of the ugly duckling… this one for real… so glad that she found a flock to be with… and maybe find a cob to make cygnets with.

    Reply

  2. sarahsouthwest
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 16:03:16

    I’m glad your swan survived. I felt your concern, and, of course, you share a precious memory of your time with your mother with us. I couldn’t help thinking of souls taking flight.

    Reply

  3. Grace
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 16:16:24

    Good thing she healed and can now fly and join her flock. The image of the lone swan by the dead of winter, speaks of loneliness. Happy she is reunited with her flock and family.

    Reply

  4. kim881
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 16:23:19

    We have lots of swans nearby in a village called Wroxham, which is on the Norfolk Broads. I love going there just to see them. It is unusual to see a lone swan and your description of her swimming in pitiful small circles sounds exactly right. I’m so pleased she found her flock again, Toni.

    Reply

  5. Glenn Buttkus
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 16:36:19

    Your poem is so well crafted, it resembles a fairy tale; a children’s book, rife with lovely drawings to compliment your poignant prose.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 02, 2018 @ 10:12:54

      It seemed almost fairy tale-ish to drive by and see the swan and to keep seeing her, day after day until the end.

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  6. qbit
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 16:47:02

    That is beautiful, poignant, evocative. Just perfect! I love the smaller and smaller circles as hope dwindles, You set the tone that the swan faces certain death, and then real joy as it lifts away with its flock. Excellent to pick that up again in the Haiku The freezing water slowly encroaching, less and less open water. How will she continue?

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 02, 2018 @ 10:11:59

      It was a couple of months of tenseness for my mother and I as we drove past and witnessed this. It was truly joyful to witness the end of it.

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  7. V.J. Knutson
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 17:57:50

    Interesting to know they go solo to die or heal. I saw a lone swan the other day and it seemed so out of place – sad almost.

    Reply

  8. Jaine
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 19:40:08

    Are there none that actually enjoy being alone? I would wonder if she saw something under the water that no one else saw — something that caught her eye with its sparkle, thus the swimming in small circles.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Oct 01, 2018 @ 21:35:57

      Swans are birds that do not do well in solitude. I imagine it was as the game warden said, that she was sick or injured and left behind. Ax she was alone, I would think her mate had earlier died. She could have stayed behind with her mate until he died. We never found the remains of another swan. I walked the area searching after she left.

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    • kanzensakura
      Oct 01, 2018 @ 21:37:52

      She was swimming in slow small circles because of the encroaching ice as the swamp area was freezing in the winter. It was the largest quickly available body of water in the area.

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  9. Frank Hubeny
    Oct 01, 2018 @ 20:01:22

    I hope she survived that winter.

    Reply

  10. Gina
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 03:01:38

    a thought crossed my mind that maybe she wanted to protect the rest from her illness or maybe she just needed some alone time to feel part of the flock again, either way you haibun gives me a lot comfort to read that she was once again part of the flock

    Reply

  11. rivrvlogr
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 09:24:39

    A tale of survival that shows the importance of companionship. Nice.

    Reply

  12. areadingwriter
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 09:43:41

    The repetition of pitiful small circles is so effective. Such touching lines and hopeful story on how you can heal alone. 🙂

    Reply

  13. Jane Dougherty
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 10:15:05

    Lovely story, Toni. Maybe she’d lost her mate and was grieving. They do.

    Reply

  14. Charmed Chaos
    Oct 02, 2018 @ 10:45:43

    This made me cry Toni. I think you captured her aloneness so well.

    Reply

  15. Frank J. Tassone
    Oct 06, 2018 @ 17:06:42

    A witness of the heartbreak of being alone when wanting company. I’m happy the swan reunited with her flock!

    Reply

  16. merrildsmith
    Oct 07, 2018 @ 10:49:25

    A lovely memory. I hope the swan healed and found a group to be with.

    Reply

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