swan 2013

Brilliant white floats
amid dusky reflections,
grays billowing above,
darkest green of lake below.
The last orange
fixes one cloud
in nature’s spotlight,
the last throbbing color of the day.
And still the swan
moves silently
with no apparent effort,
neck in a perfect curve.

A dozen geese
form a line
like an escort
and the swan swims with it,
two geese before and ten behind,
her light feathers contrasting with their dark.
Then the clouds finally
drain of color
and multitudes of gray prevail,
a surprising personal hope
pinned to that slow whiteness.

The parade disperses,
who can say why,
until the swan swims back,
the geese queue up,
and begin to glide back
along the same
invisible straight line,
but the other direction!

Who’s baton cued this?
Was all this for me,
pen and paper in hand,
so I could find
some words to share?

Now they are off
to huddle for the night
around the blackening shore,
and we all must wait
for the promise of dawn.


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.


  1. Bill Romey

    nice narrative

  2. Love this! I hope someday to see the lone lonely swan that shows up from time to time to inspire and intrigue us all…

  3. David

    Ah, the lake….it just exists yet, despite the rest of the afflictions of the world and one’s on life, it has the ability to bring forth the most beautiful things life can provide.



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