Response for "The Swans".

Essay by kuki000 November 2003

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The Swans, by Clifford Dyment

Midstream they met. Challenger and champion,

They fought a war for honor

Fierce, sharp, but with no honor;

Each had a simple aim and sought it quickly.

The combat over the victor sailed away

Broken, but placid as the gift of swans,

Leaving his rival to his shame alone.

I listened for a song, according to story,

But this swan's death was out of character

No giving up of the grace of life

In a sad lingering music

I saw the beaten swan rise on the water

As though to outreach pain, its webbed feet

Banging the river helplessly, its wings

Loose in a large hysteria. Then the neck

Was floating like a rope and the swan was dead

It drifted away and all around it swan's-down

Bobbed on the river like children's little boats.

This is the story of two Swans who met to battle in the middle of a river.

They both had the same aim, which was to destroy the other, and wanted "to sought it quickly". After the fight, one came out victorious, leaving its enemy lifeless on the way. The persona seems to be someone who was around the place; a witness, or maybe the author, who (as many poets) has "an eye for detail" and could see the scene so clearly.

These swans, were the challenger and the champion (the best of the kind), but during the combat one of them was quicker and effective in his attack. When it was over, he "sailed away broken, but placid"; meaning that although he had won and was injured, he had no mercy or compassion and knew he could relax and show all his elegance. He had acquired honour but the way in which he then left, had no honour...