Their stay is both brief yet intense and a most wonderful natural occurrence of Joie de la vie and sheer free and rampant flying skills. These amazing birds only make landfall to breed, often in church towers or the lofts of local tall houses. They need a three-metre drop in order to get airborne
They literally do everything else on the wing.
The swifts are back!
Diving from your bell tower
On your maiden flight
Wings trembling with uncertainty
Tense with fright
Falling, falling, falling
Newton’s apple in your throat
You know your parents love you
But do they have to gloat?
The wind is rushing faster
The ground appearing near
Can this really be so normal?
My God, I’m feeling queer
Suddenly, your lungs are full and
The joystick truly yanked
The curve is caught, new flight begins
We’re heading skywards, lessons banked
Fear vanquished, the ultimate flying machine
Makes the first few beats upon the wing
Conquers the air and to the sky is born,
The gleeful wingèd, feathered king
Flying like you never mean to stop
Full pilot control
No winged insect ever safe
On the Norway to the Cape patrol
At first great fear, now a mere “stroll” on the wing
As your never-ending areal revere
Allows you perpetual “hip-hop”
What glee feel you now
Super, wingèd dove?
Flying for the United Nations
Master o’er all above
Screee, screeee, screeee,
The screech-maker wiles and sings
Dicing, slicing through the rooftops
On vaulted wings
Some say a swift,
Urbane he be,
Can in the valleys
A mountain turn
I say a swift, rounding each and every
Rooftop with such eternal glee.
In my rafters be
To nest and seek sojourn
To breed and rest a while
To take breath and breed
And like a stile
Spring into the air
and fly forever, not like the idle swallow
“I fly today, now I’m grounded ...
and maybe fly again tomorrow!”
You are a continuous cacophonous symphony
Of eternal wondrous, individual flight,
Ecstasy in motion,
Were I you, I might know fright.
Knowing you, I know none
You come as last, and leave us early,
Perpetual marker of the seasons
Antipodal friend in the hurly burly
Summer’s diplomat with summer’s
Whiles do dance
The mountain’s summits are such, yet much lower
Than your daily death-defying night flying trance
Fly forever celestial creature
With cries like none others heard
But ‘twixt Spring and Summer return in May
Enchanting word-defying, breath taking bird.