Obligato, poetry written by Linda Imbler at Spillwords.com



written by: Linda Imbler


I loved to sit on the lake shore and watch the soft float of the birds.

One day, I saw a bevy of swans, fifteen in all.
I saw a young male swan softly glide amidst the group.
This beautiful cob with his long neck and white plumage,
feathers that looked as delicate as ice shavings.

He then used his honk to get her attention,
that young female pen.
She paired with him that day and every day thereafter.

They became each other’s must have.

For 20 years, I watched as she called their young
back home with her sharp, shrill bark.
I watched as he hissed away threats with his wheezy breath.
I watched as he trumpeted to protect their family.
I heard all the songs of those swans’ symphony within those years,
save one.

And then that daybreak, I watched as he awoke the rising sun,
but not the rising of his mate.
I watched as he touched her feathers, now as cold as ice shavings.

And I heard the obligato, woven by grief, within his swan song,

as it became his must do.

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