The Swan King of Naas

White wings spread wide like Pegasus,
Long serpentine neck poised to attack
The Swan King of Naas welcomes all challengers
As they race by in fear of the mighty creature.

His cygnets rest in the feathery embrace of his mate.
Nobody would be foolish enough to try and steal a baby from the fearsome couple.
“Jesus, Maria, just run past him, he’s just guarding the babies!”
“Fuck off, John, look at the size of the bastard!”

Weary travelers, unprepared for this new challenge don’t know
If they should skirt by, turn back or cross the canal on the lock bridge.
A few of us look over in amusement, happy in our prior knowledge of
The Swan King of Naas and his brood in their new home.

I see other contenders for the crown up by Swans café
Throwing out the odd hiss and a shape of a wing swipe,
Causing nervous jitters and springy footsteps to the safe haven of the
Other side of the narrow path.

Sometimes when I let my mind wander I think of the
King holding all his business in the café named after his ancestors,
Honking, Hissing and planning their offense for the
Battle of the dam-bridge.

A wise-looking heron floats over the canal
Keeping watch from Naas to Sallins,
Gliding low and soaring high.
Aware of every little going on in the kingdom below

Oftentimes stopping and standing on the bank of the canal.
He looks around, letting us take pictures,
Allowing passers-by to stop and stare
At the town’s benevolent alternative leader.

“Fine, go back and around and I’ll meet you at home!”
“Yeah, fucking great, thanks John!”
The Swan King of Naas has claimed another scalp of war.
The Battle of the Dam-Bridge is over.

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