Barn Swallow

On my morning walk today, I reached a green field, where a barn swallow was swooping and circling over the grass. It was a solitary bird, perhaps in migration, but so full of joy! I was reminded of Shelley’s “To a Skylark” (though it is Keats who mentions swallows by name in “To Autumn”).

I also remembered time I spent in the Monasterio Santo Tomas in Avila in Spain, where one courtyard, abandoned by people, was filled with hundreds and hundreds of swallows — and many nests. The swallows there were constantly calling and circling! They were so full of delight.

I have never seen so many swallows together since.

barn swallow in flight_Jim Ray's_5_2_06

TO A BARN SWALLOW

Swoop, circle, and dive –
swoop, circle, and rise!

You tilt on the waves of the wind,
and the blue of your breast

flashes bright in the light
beside orange and white.

Sail, circle, and soar!
Come back again for more!

Your joy in the morning
over this green field

is a token of love,
a declaration of praise.

Fly into the infinite sky –
disappear into the distance!

jb

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