Friday 8 March 2019


I saw a swan sip the river today 
And I worried about plastic.
I was relieved when I saw the bread
Someone had flung over, enthusiastic.

I saw a counsellor today. 
Except he turned out not to be one. 
I am a psychiatric nurse, he said,
And you are not a problem. 

My kind of problem, he meant, 
and he meant it kindly.
No suicide for him that day,
And he was surely glad of it.

But I had been longing for a place to grieve, 
To weep my river of sorrows.
Instead I walked to the graveyard,
And paused beside the bridge;

I watched the swan sip, 
And sunlight dip,
On the swan’s soft fluffy pillow.
And I tucked my tears up, under. 

©Shaista Tayabali, 2019


Sherry Blue Sky said...

I adore this poem for so many reasons. The swans, the needing a place to grieve, tucking the tears up, under. In my old age, i seem to have a river of tears on tap......yet we put on our smiles for the public, not to alarm them. Beautiful, Shaista. Seeing swans, such a blessing. My son once said "to understand a swan, you have to learn how to cry."

Frank Hubeny said...

Nice ending tucking the tears into the soft swan.

brudberg said...

I love how the swan gave you a better comfort than the hospital.

indybev said...

Perhaps it is that a visit to nature does more good than a visit to a therapist? Something to think about. Plaintive poem.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Beautifully poignant ❤️

Shaista said...

I think you may be right ... so I am attempting walks every day ... even if just briefly... the changing seasons are quite subtle sometimes ... but something new reflects our changing moods. And our capacity for change is important to acknowledge isn’t it?

Shaista said...

Thank you Sana’a xx

Shaista said...

They did, they really did. I felt sure that particular swan, who came closest, was talking to me with his wagging tail! And he was certainly listening ... he did better with the listening than the two men - although the men were kind enough... just on a timer like all of us are on the NHS ... kindness on a timer :)

Shaista said...

Thank you Frank...

Shaista said...

Your son said that? I wonder when that line came to him... that’s exactly how it felt to me ... although maybe the swan thinks, ‘To be a swan is to understand why humans cry’...

Click to leave a comment