My daughter's six years-old. Last Saturday
we went to Cowey Sale to feed the birds.
We stood there with our bags of bread.
A swan approached, a full-grown cob,
ungainly, lordly, every inch as tall as her.
He stretched, and spread his wings – I felt their waft.
She never flinched, she held her ground.
She fed him titbits from the bag. I felt so proud.
We stood there on the Surrey bank
and stared along the Thames to Walton Bridge.
“What do you see?” I asked her. And she said:
“A bow, a metal rainbow with its feet touching the earth.”
I smiled; she said: “When we get home tonight
I want to stay up late and watch the Stars on Ice.”
One day, perhaps this year, we'll walk across that bridge.
We'll cross, as so many have crossed before:
its span of wood and stone and brick
remade in steel – the girders braced and tensioned,
tempered to withstand the shock of centuries to come.
I'll lean against the parapet, ask her what the future holds.
She gestures to the bridge's end. “I want to dance,”
she says. I tell her: “Sweetheart, you already do.”
She thinks I'm teasing her. I'm not.
With every step she takes she makes the world anew.