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Sometimes, rarely, black swans would pass over the town, and the boy, looking up, would say a poem. There were no poems about black swans, but he would think of other skies, other birds, a land of snow. Words possessed his mind: a meaningless magic.

Grey goose and gander

Waft your wings together

(Randolph Stow, The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea, 3)