The Swans

The feeling I hope to paint with words today has sat heavily upon me since the day of the scene evoking it. Every time since that I’ve walked through the same spot of Colonel Samuel Smith Park on the shores of Lake Ontario, Toronto it’s been impossible not to remember the scene in what otherwise is a lovely little park.

There’s a lot I could and want to say about it. But . . . it kinda defeats the point if trying to make it artistically.


Signs that say keep dogs on a leash/lead are there for a reason; that they’re not always for the benefit of the dog or its owner doesn’t make them any less valid.

I once came across a couple of women stood on the shore laughing as their dog paddled after a beaver desperate to get back to its lodge, the dog preventing it. They were finding it highly amusing. Until I got there.

When the lake flooded, the geese found themselves sitting on footpaths when sitting at the water’s edge, and off leash dog’s were suddenly running free along familiar paths now full of geese . . . did the owner hang around to make sure the goose got the veterinary attention it needed?

These people can’t even get their dogs to return when called.

We all saw the lady choking her dog in the Ramble.

Animal lovers?

It’s entitlement. Pure unadulterated.

i’ll never forget the day
the swan did go away
because the other, it’s mate
was dead
killed by dog most like
off leash running wild
owner free of care
coyotes couldn’t afford
to leave all the flesh
in the bodily heap
with feathers i found
murdered, bloody, not eaten
to think
of the grace i’d seen
them glide around the place
their bond clear, engaging
to be lost without reason or care
so cruelly, brutally, frenzied
the dog owner unable to control
tail between their legs
as they scurry away
just worried about being seen
never mind the obscenity left behind
the tender bond broken
way before its time
so anger inducing
beyond frustrating
despite the hundreds
and hundreds
and hundreds
of birds killed and mangled
every day
for our consumption


Image courtesy Wolfgang Hasselmann

Other animal related posts:

MG June2014

Michael Gira of Swans the band and N. P. Ryan, Toronto, June, 2014

Next in vs. Poetry: How to Make Writing First Person Narrations Easy as Baking a Cake (assuming you’re a really good baker)
Last in vs. Poetry: Heat II

Thanks for reading,

N. P. Ryan

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