Swans there were in the sky, a skein of nine,
silent and white as driven snow,
a perfect arrowhead, pacific and pure,
pulsed with hot blood and smooth-feathered muscle.
One accord binds them on the paths of the air,
above the slow-flowing river, bound to its bed,
one accord, wing tip to wing tip, slip-stream rowing,
strongest in front, breaking the way.
Bonds as sure as any fraternity, buoy their passage,
surging on pure white power and gentle compassion.