A number of unifying ideas or themes run through the poem. Different readers may attach more or less significance to each of these themes, depending upon how they view the poem.
|Partnership: in this poem we are presented with a couple who seem to have had an argument. By the end of the poem they are reconciled, and it seems that their partnership is one that can ride out difficulties.||‘I noticed our hands, that had, somehow,/ swum the distance between us’||By describing the hands as having 'swum' the distance between them, this makes a connection between the couple and the swans, suggesting they too have made a connection for life.|
|Conflict: at the start of the poem there is a sense that the couple have been arguing, or had a difficult situation to deal with.||'we skirted the lake, silent and apart'||'Skirted' suggests avoidance. The lake works on a literal level (they are walking around the edges of it) and also a metaphor (for the issue they are avoiding).|
|Love: the poet's companion draws a comparison between the swans and the people by noting that the birds 'mate for life'.||''They mate for life' you said as they left,'||The direct speech breaks the silence between the couple and reminds them that they are meant to be together.|
How does Owen Sheers show that the couple are reconciled by the end of the poem?