Four Black Swans

a Spenserian Sonnet

by Thomas Davis

Four swans, crow-feather black, fly low above
The lake’s ice, white with tints of apple green.
Upon a red roof ravens, croaking of
The way the blue-black of their feather’s sheen
Swift shadows on the snow’s white shining, preen
Into a circle, stirring whispering winds
That cause white wisps to pirouette, careen
Across the fields as daylight slowly ends.

A black cat tops a hill and then descends
Into a field where fourteen cats have made
A ring beneath a full moon; each pretends
The others aren’t as eyes glow green as jade —

The wind blows cold; the silver moon is bright
As black swans fly into the spell-bound night.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

13 responses to “Four Black Swans

  1. Ina

    This is very lovely. And mysterious…

  2. annajanemark

    Four swans and fourteen cats, crows on a red roof, the colours in the snow and the ice, the colours of the birds and the spell-bound and spell-binding night. This poem is alluring. And I read each image as something other than what it is, so I return to it asking of each image, “What are you?” I ask this also of the numbers. And I’m sure there are references in this poem to art I have not read or seen. It is also satisfying to read the words that have the long e, green, sheen, preen, careen.

  3. Thisis very beautiful Tom. I will have to look I to this type of sonnet! 😊

  4. This is a gorgeous poem Tom — precisely observed of course, and comfortably at ease within your chosen form — but ultimately sensual, perfectly sensual!

  5. I love this poem! May I use it in my English 2 class?

  6. “each pretends the others aren’t”-beautiful,captures cats’ snobbery purrfectly

  7. Masterful and magical. Nice to read it alongside Ethel’s very different take on the same stimulus. Hoping you are both well and Spring bringing you comfort. (And warmth. 🙂 )

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