From NH Poet Laureate website: Syringa, by Laura Davies Foley, Cornish
Of her poem, Syringa, Laura writes:
"Syringa is a bird with a broken wing who survives long winters on the edges of a frozen pond in New England. She is joined each spring and fall by other birds who stop for a while and then fly off to their summer breeding grounds in Canada, or their winter shelters to the south.
She seemed to me a wild friend, appearing one day near the woods where I walk. I felt that seeing her was a privilege, and I thought I was going to experience the privilege of watching her die.
At one point early on I pitied her, and requested help from a wildlife agency. They said they could not fix the wing and so advised euthanasia. I decided to do nothing. That was years ago.
In some ways the bird has been my teacher, constant and serene, her flawed wing no greater hindrance to freedom than the normal flightlessness we all experience when we are awake enough to notice.
I call her Syringa because I like the cadence of the word, its soft swan sounds, its evocation of lilacs, exotic trees and fragrant, faraway places. But she is just a simple goose. Quite ordinary..."
I thought I would see a flutter of feathers,
a streak of blood,
maybe some bones.
The fox in the night would be satisfied,
or the hawk, or the eagle and I would lean against a tree
and I would feel the loss, the empty space.
Instead, she greets me from a spot far off on the lake.
She stretches out her broken wing
as if to question my intention,
my coming, my watching.
Her body shines in the copper light.
It is difficult for both of us,
the endless floating in dark water,
the waiting eyes,
the pale, cold sky
Every day the clutching branches of ice.
And I have come to love her. It is difficult,
the ice like lace, the glow of her neck
as she arches back upon herself,
the desolation of the sky, and joy,
the wild joy that blossoms toward us in the dark.