High flyers

All morning
in that huge space
hushed as a church
They showed me how they take
metal, wood, leather, paint
long patient hours
and with them make
four-wheeled palaces for princes
players, plutocrats:
The stuff we’re meant to dream of.

Only later, when I watched
four swans
unfurl themselves like magnolia flowers
then run
heavy, ponderous as bombers
grey feet slapping
wide wings whistling,
willing them
off the gripping water
and away
towards the island

Did I see something
that stopped me still
held my eyes
made my heart hammer

and all that manufactured art
was whirled away
like fallen feathers
by things no hand created.


After a visit to the Rolls-Royce factory. It was a work thing. Don’t think I’ll be buying one any time soon.