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The swallows are gathering at Klamath Glen


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The swallows are gathering at Klamath Glen.
Queing up on the telephone lines,
Chattering to their neighbors,
Exchanging pleasantries and updates on
Eggs laid and chicks survived or lost,
Getting ready for the long trip south.

It’s been months since they arrived in
One large flock. Breaking immediately
Into pairs, off they went to nest under eves
Of homes and out-buildings, mud nests
Hanging from sheer walls or perched on
Utility lights. How do they manage it?

Soon heads peek out, cheeps rising in
Crescendo when dad arrives with food.
Before long the young have flown to join
Their parents in airy pirouettes, darting here and
There, morning and evening, harvesting insects,
Growing strong in flight, confident in capture.

The swallows are gathering at Klamath Glen.
Soon they’ll leave for climes southward.
Who knows what makes them gather,
Much less what tells them when it’s time
To rise as one, wheel right and left, and
Disappear beyond the trees on yonder ridge.

The gathering is mystery and marvel, the
Sudden emptiness from lines and sky a void.
Tomorrow we’ll rise to silence, an empty
Sky where once was boundless sound and motion.
The exuberance of youth, summer and the hatch
Are only a memory now, fading with the light.

The swallows have gathered at Klamath Glen
Only to leave. The knowledge that they had to go
Is no consolation. We are left with memories,
Short days and hope that we will still be here
In June when they return again to brighten
The long summer days of our too short lives.


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