Each year in May we watch for the return of the swifts who nested here under our thatch, hoping they have survived the long journey to and from Africa. They have now arrived and it seems the three pairs who left last year have returned or their offspring have. I wrote this poem about them coming back here.
On early summer evenings we wait
For the swifts, impatiently.
They circle the house
Remembering the way under the eaves.
Each evening they fly
Screaming, winged speed hurtling
Straight towards the thatch
Thump against the board and vanish
The noise reverberating through empty rooms.
We shelter them until late August
Until they imprint this place
Hardwired on their homing systems
And fly south, their nests empty.
Only the creaks and groans of the house
In the wind, recalls the summer months.