Swan Nesting

I watch, wait, would snap her thin white neck,
tell her to get out, quickly--
before the nest is done,
the warm eggs hatched to be destroyed.
Last spring, the giant turtle
took the goslings down.
Why doesn't she remember?
Stick by small dry stick, mud-thatch,
pebble, twig--a nest as strong
as any human prayer.
Next week she'll have her children,
in three weeks' time they'll all be dead;
twisted instinct keeps her going,
giving, always giving,
complicit in a crazy chain of silently accepting
the way things are.