Swallow conversations - Penny Snowden
I have been sent this today from Penny and thought it so lovely, so sharing it for everyone to enjoy and think upon.
Conversations with swallows
One day my sister was ironing in her utility room when a swallow came in. It sat on the ironing board and chattered away in an urgent manner, flying towards the door and returning. Realising that the bird wanted her to follow it she went out into the garden. The swallow then sat by the shut garage door, continuing to chatter on. When the door was opened the young swallows trapped inside flew off. A memorable encounter.
This week I had the garden door open over which there is a porch. One swallow came and perched on the strut of the structure and examined the interior of the roof. It then flew off and returned with a second swallow. They sat side by side, both obviously doing a rece on the prospective nest site. They turned to each other and had a short conversation after which they flew away. I can’t help feeling that I was found lacking!
Rhian adds, I am quite sure you were not found lacking, but perhaps your porch was one of a number of possible sites the swallows were visiting that day. Also they are fickle partners! No pairing for life in the swallow world. They can have up to three partners a season and up to three clutches of eggs. Maybe, just maybe your swallow friends, hadn't committed to each other either!
Swallows are a welcome bird, a sign of Spring is well and truly here and of the sunny warm days of Summer still to come. They have flown from the very South of Africa all the way north to our shores, some 10,000 kms. Lost in mythological thoughts is the proclamation that the swallow is a bird, which brings with it healing and also prosperity. The swallow itself is though a symbol of fertility and all things maternal.
Psalm 84 v 1-4 nsrv
1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
From Work And Play, by Ted Hughes,
The swallow of summer, she toils all the summer, A blue-dark knot of glittering voltage, A whiplash swimmer, a fish of the air. But the serpent of cars that crawls through the dust In shimmering exhaust Searching to slake Its fever in ocean Will play and be idle or else it will bust.
The swallow of summer, the barbed harpoon, She flings from the furnace, a rainbow of purples, Dips her glow in the pond and is perfect. But the serpent of cars that collapsed on the beach Disgorges its organs A scamper of colours Which roll like tomatoes Nude as tomatoes With sand in their creases To cringe in the sparkle of rollers and screech.
The swallow of summer, the seamstress of summer, She scissors the blue into shapes and she sews it, She draws a long thread and she knots it at the corners. But the holiday people Are laid out like wounded Flat as in ovens Roasting and basting With faces of torment as space burns them blue Their heads are transistors Their teeth grit on sand grains Their lost kids are squalling While man-eating flies Jab electric shock needles but what can they do?
They can climb in their cars with raw bodies, raw faces And start up the serpent And headache it homeward A car full of squabbles And sobbing and stickiness With sand in their crannies Inhaling petroleum That pours from the foxgloves While the evening swallow The swallow of summer, cartwheeling through crimson, Touches the honey-slow river and turning Returns to the hand stretched from under the eaves – A boomerang of rejoicing shadow.