The swans, returning from the winter, see
The moon declined upon the west, the grey
Night hung with canted banners, and a tree,
Crested with rooks, awaiting break of day.
But what they do not see because the moat,
Massed with dead water-lilies, holds its own,
The rusted knights contending in a boat
For carp, soon, with the dawn, will fade to stone.
Meanwhile the willow grows, meanwhile the sheep,
In disarray upon the tilting ground,
Shadow the lists where phantom ladies keep
Watch while their lords clash swords without a sound.
These towers, like looming lifeless men-at-arms,
Wait in their ruin, as swans’ wings beat alarms.