suddenly last autumn

“They dip their wings in the sunset,
They dash against the air
As if to break themselves upon its stillness”

Swallows ~ Leonora Speyer.

The hirondelles are here
hitchhikers on a temperate wind
out of Africa even before winter
had migrated North - perhaps they did not leave
after all, after that last September day
when the sun kept back reserves of heat
and insects ascended in the vortex

out of the thermals with piercing glee
the fork-tailed birds scythed
and boomeranged through swarms
fast food for the swift metallic saw-wings
a skim above our heads then dipping
sipping the bright tidal waters

hand in hand, faces upturned, we turned
roundabout with child-like awe
mesmerised by movements, those oh so
enduring moments before our world 
tail spun into grief 

I've watched hirondelles here again
and the whole swallow summer is yet to be
only you will not return to see

Notes: Hirondelles – Swallows (Fr) – passerines of the Hirundinidae family

Joining Sherry as she hosts this Sunday’s Poetry Pantry

27 thoughts on “suddenly last autumn

  1. That moment of seeing the birds’ return, without the beloved one, is so poignant. From one spring to another, everything has changed. Thinking of you, Laura. This is a beautiful poem.

  2. A lyrical poem! I learned something (the French name for swallows may come in handy), and the etymology behind the name of Simon Templar’s mythical automobile (in the stories; not the TV show nor the movie). So I’ve got that going for me! 🙂

    1. A very different bird indeed – the Hirondel was “a snarling silver fiend that roared through London on the wings of an unearthly wind”
      You might like the artists impressions here
      P.s. Martin would have appreciated your comment – he read all those books

      1. Oh my! Thank you for that link. I have been a Saint fan since I was six or seven. I have read as many of the stories as I could get my hands on — better than Bond.

        Great minds….

  3. A gorgeous, joyous poem – and then that poignant moment at the end. However, we achieve nothing by refusing the joys once shared; better to learn to appreciate them alone (with all the memories attached, making them bitter-sweet). I realise you know this; just expressing fellow-feeling.

  4. A most exquisite poem, Laura! ❤️ The hirondelles are majestic birds and you have described them well! 😀

  5. So sad. Your world tail spun into grief.The shock of it all. I am so sorry for your situation. This is a very beautiful poem.

  6. By calling a swallow a hirondelle it makes it seem as if it’s an entirely different bird. A completely different atmosphere to it. (Never read any of the Saint books.)

  7. P.S. confused . . did you write this memorable poem or was it someone called Leonora Speyer? Or are you also Leonora Speyer?

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