The Swallows

After the tall yellowed grass 
of late summer is mown 
white-bellied swallows 
Ta chi ci ne tas
pour from mud-daubed 
barn rafter nests 
to feast 
wide-mouthed in motion 
blue green backs
        shimmer-skimming 
with streamer tails 
         along insect trails 

We'd seen their babies 
stubbly bald heads 
raised above nest's lip
with flap-open mouths wide
three or four waiting 
for delivery of smallest
motes of a meal

We'd seen then 
their first fledged flights
brief 
darker chests heaving 
along fence rail 
or barn roof spine 
until a signal
to try again

Each season we'd fish one 
out of the horse trough 
its impossibly light and lifeless body 
sodden 
saddened we'd carry it 
to thicker berry bramble 
wishing that the soaring circles of its siblings 
would not have lost this smallest bit of bird 

There are different kinds of leaving 
different kinds of journeys 
but when the swallows are gone 
the sky seems empty

◄ Ghazalit

No Comparison ►

Comments

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Mae Foreman

Wed 18th Sep 2019 23:34

I can't decide what I enjoyed more, the conversation in the comment section or the poem itself! Great word Adam. I think swallows is a safe, reassuring choice when talking about separations. It leaves an aftertaste of hope, or wishful thinking that the parting is fickle! You want to send your kids out to the world, but I bet you'll miss them! I used the same bird in a different scenario...in mine the parting was more definite, nothing like the life affirming feeling of a life beginning, rather the opposite. Still the picture of swallows appeased the pain that comes with separation. That we may see each other again!🎈

Mae

Devon Brock

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 18:12

Yes, language is amazing. I thought there was something going on there but I couldn't figure it out. Well played.

D

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Adam Rabinowitz

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 17:24

Devon,
I am listening to the interview. Great stuff.
Tachycinetas is the latin for the swallows genus but once you suggested that it was the sound I felt that that felt right as well...and now the Chinese translation captures the feeding aspect.

Language is amazing.

Devon Brock

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 15:15

You are welcome, Adam. You may find this intriguing. After reading your poem, I typed "Ta chi ci ne" into google translate in case I was missing something, and it came up as Chinese "He eats for you."

D

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Adam Rabinowitz

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 15:09

You are all kinder than you know and I couldn't imagine doing this without you. Thank you.

Devon Brock

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 12:13

Adam,

This is wonderful. And thank you for capturing their chittering song: ta chi ti ne tas. It is a hard thing to do successfully. Swallow aerobatics are the dance of summer and I share the sentiment of the last two lines. Your comment brings the poem to a different point of reflection as your last swallow takes flight. Given your vocation, however, you'll be surrounded by them throughout the winter. Happy flying, and a deep thank you for the compliment.

D

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keith jeffries

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 08:55

Adam,

This is another great and in particular I love the words, "wishing that the soaring circles of its siblings would not have lost this smallest bit of bird". I have the good fortune to live in the heart of the English countryside and witness these things. Your poetry truly captivates the season and all that pertains to it.
Thank you

Keith

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Adam Rabinowitz

Mon 2nd Sep 2019 06:41

Last child leaves for college tomorrow so leaving was on my mind. Also..Devon wrote that gorgeous poem about swallows and I love swallows so thought i might try one also.

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