Lessons from Barn Swallows

The summer wind brought me in and I came to rest
In the harbour where he found me;
Wind-circler, carrying horizons in my wing bars;
He looked at me like I was a picture book
From a library he never knew existed,
And me, weather-worn and storm-weary,
I stayed a while in his shelter
Gave him sunsets and stories,
Every brightly coloured thing I could
Frame into words,
And he listened wide eyed and wondering,
Read my travel scars like ley lines looking for maybe;
Told me to my face we would be a disaster
But loved me anyway;
Learned that my kin meant safe return and so,
He offered me anchor,
Wore my smile like a lucky tattoo
And hoped to be my north star

And how could I not ask the wind
If there was a match for such courage?
But to fly like this is to know the pull of the blue
Where all is vivid and dangerous and alive
In ways that he, who has never left shore
Cannot comprehend,
And so he let me fly,
If only to count on my returning.
Took to watching summer skies for me
And leaving the window open
But time was a bitter teacher;
And he began resenting the north wind
And the slow waltz of the seasons
And came to curse what it is
To love a wild bird with stories but no land;

And the man I have no business loving
But do anyway
Takes to avoiding the ocean and
Closing his window to keep out the wind
And the thought of me,
Redrawing edges that I had made blue and blurry,
A kaleidoscope of futures we knew
We could not have
But oh the weight of these eyelash rainbows;
These stubborn summer storm electric charges
Between us,
Who knew that a warm breeze could feel
So much like lead ballast; like deep winter,
When once, we were August.

And so, I circle
Knowing that he will never see
The wild beauty beyond the shoreline,
Learn to swallow the envy for those
He will one day call home,
Because what was this story if not impossible?

And maybe one day,
He will look up with his new lover
And a summer sky will just be
A summer sky –
Not a missed chance,
Not a wasted hope;
And maybe, I will be there,
Still circling the air currents,
Returning to a place I once called safe haven
And telling the wind our story.

I’m not sure I know how not to.

 

 

 

***

 

 

Originally written June 2018 while in Scotland.

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