The Geese on the Park Water
The Canada geese
Pose in the light and dark of ripples,
And in and out of narrow shadows
Pose, compose, improvising
Their endless eloquent line.
The Swan’s Feet
Who is this whose feet
Close on the water,
Like muscled leaves darker than ivy
Blown back and curved by unwearying wind?
They, that thrust back the water,
Softly crumple now and close, stream in his wake.
These dank weeds are also
Part and plumage of the magnolia-flowering swan.
He puts forth these too—
Leaves of ridged and bitter ivy
Sooted in towns, coal-bright with rain.
He is not moved by winds in air
Like the vain boats on the lake.
Lest you think him too a flower of parchment,
See his living feet under the water fanning.
In the leaves’ self blows the efficient wind
That opens and bends closed those leaves.
Edith Joy Scovell, called Joy, was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, in 1907 and she went up to Somerset College, the women’s college founded at Oxford University in 1879.
Scovell accompanied her husband, the distinguished Oxford ecologist and naturalist Charles Elton, to Central and South America and the West Indies as a recorder and field researcher.