Free as air

Swallow

Seems in some past life, I pulled off a crime
So heinous I have been condemned to years
Of penal servitude. I do my time
Inside, until some clement spirit hears
My plea and turns me loose. Today’s parole
Came in the afternoon – a chance to ride,
Cut free the chains of commerce from my soul
And breathe the clean and healing breeze outside.
A hilltop stop to shed my jacket. There
He was, dark blue and scarlet in the sun,
Forked tail tuning up the April air,
First with the news their season has begun.
One doesn’t make a summer, so they say;
But he was just enough to make my day.

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13 thoughts on “Free as air

  1. Hi Nick

    this is lovely, the return of the swallows! One doesn’t make a Summer, that is a saying in Dutch too, but it is enough for Spring!
    You are a prisoner of work, but that same work gives you also the opportunity to be free ( just to cheer you up lol )

    Sometimes swallows just fly around in the street, I love it when they are so close, you can almost touch them. 🙂

    Ina xx

    • Hi Ina – thank you! Interesting that you have the same expression we do about swallows and summer; I guess our latitudes and climates are pretty similar! And you’re right, of course; I have far more freedom to break out of jail and do my own thing than most fellows my age – I know how lucky I am. Have a great day! N.xx

  2. Nick, sometimes I wonder what I can say about your work. The return of the swallows; the return of life away from the day to day drudgery of commerce into nature and poetry–two, though not the only, great themes that reverberate through what you write. Each sonnet and double sestina is expertly done with the touch of a master craftsman, the carpenter in his shop shaping wood, making it smooth with wonderful curves, and then polishing away imperfections. Excellent work, as always. I only wish we could loosen the chains of commerce on our collective throats and put more people on bike rides and walks and writing poetry. Life would not be strangling the body politic so much that way, but don’t tell that to politicians. They would make a speech about the idea and manage to put it down in a way that would ruin it totally.

    • I read somewhere that poetry is a calling, not a career. Sometimes I wish there were some way to earn a living by wandering about on foot and two wheels, then writing nonsense about what I’ve seen and heard (getting paid for doing something you’d be doing anyway is surely one road to happiness) but, then again, maybe it’s better this way. As soon as there was seen to be money in poetry, it would be colonised, commoditised and commercialised by the same big, vested interests that have invaded and ruined so many aspects of life. And I totally agree about keeping the politicians out of it; you could write down all the good they’ve ever done us on a Post-it note, and still have room for the week’s grocery list. So glad you liked the piece; it came to me more-or-less fully formed and just needed a little light sanding and buffing. Love it when that happens (shame it ain’t that often!) N.

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