The swallows were here before us, by Richard Carpenter

We wait for the builder to juggle

his time; mend an ancient stack

before it crumbles into pieces;

splits the tiles from ridge to gutter.


We wait while the swallows juggle

the second brood on the cow-byre

roof. Will he come before they fly?

Pick up the phone and mutter.


We wait while the seasons juggle

winter into spring. Stack and stove

keep us warm as we watch the sky

for the owners to come home.


We wait while the partners juggle

with straw and mud for the nest,

fuss over eggs, chase down flies,

share stories with the wagtails,


sparrows, pigeons, dive bomb

the cat to find another spot to curl.

The swallows sold us our home

with a codicil to share the byre.


Copyright the author and first published by Friends of Rowntree Park 2015.


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