The Wild Swans

The wild swans at Coole are
dying from H5N1 bird flu virus
and we are not to go near them

their winter preening and favourite
grasses are held at bay behind
barbed wire and red

warning notices - all of their feathers
are dimmed and they are become
vehicles of horror and no peace.

The water laps and the birds
dip their necks, stretch their wings
oblivious - they come and go, with

paddling feet, backs wagging,
and have seen it all before -
only we are panicking

and scrubbing our wellingtons
with soapy water
but they - masters of the sky

and of what they bring -
ignore us: we deserve their disdain.
They have no word for us.
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