Swallows and Bats: Poetry Friday #28

Growing up, we used to spend summer weekends camping in the Catskills. At dusk we’d hike down to a little swimming hole. I would lie on my back and watch the shallows zooming. The only place I saw barn swallow was on those camping trips so they are forever associated, in my mind, with lazy summer evenings.

Imagine my delight when I have started seeing them at dusk swooping and diving in my own yard:

Swallow Flight by Sara Teasdale

I love my hour of wind and light,
I love men’s faces and their eyes,
I love my spirit’s veering flight
Like swallows under evening skies.

I wasn’t used to seeing them in backyards so when I first spotted them a couple of weeks ago I wondered why the bats were out so early. Apparently I’m not the only one to confuse bats and swallows.

from Bats by D.H. Lawrence

Look up, and you see things flying
Between the day and the night;
Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together.

A circle swoop, and a quick parabola under the bridge arches
Where light pushes through;
A sudden turning upon itself of a thing in the air.
A dip to the water.

And you think:
“The swallows are flying so late!”

You can read the rest of D.H. Lawrence’s “Bat” at the Poetry Foundation.

Gearbox and Pickle go back to school next week. I pick up the book I was writing in May to finish it. Soon the swallows will leave for South America and we will put the stress of this crazy summer behind us.

For more Poetry Friday, go visit Dori at Dori Reads.

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12 Responses to Swallows and Bats: Poetry Friday #28

  1. Jone says:

    I love the poetry of D.H. Lawrence. Good pick. The images are striking. Here’s to the beginning of school.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Katya! With so many mosquitoes this year, I’m glad for those swooping bats. Wishing you and your boys a pleasant, UNEVENTFUL, injury-free start to a new school year.

    • kczaja says:

      Hear! Hear!

      I love bats, too. Our neighbor in Melbourne had a fig tree and we would sit on the patio at dusk and watch the giant fruit bats fly in.

  3. Ah, I’ve always liked Sara Teasdale, and that poem is lovely. My first experience with swallows was in an apartment here in Italy. It was basically a turret on the roof, and had some drainage tubes or whatever in the ceiling. My first spring there I thought the place was infested with rats — luckily I discovered that a great flock of sparrows called the place home each spring. They made a mess of the terrace, but I loved having them on my head!

    • kczaja says:

      I’ve always wanted a swallow nest on my house so I could observe them more closely. The catbird who nests next to my deck makes a terrible mess and yells at me every time I go to sit outside. :-)

  4. Linda Baie says:

    We have nighthawks flying around, & perhaps it’s because of a park nearby. Lovely poems, especially this beautiful line “Swallows with spools of dark thread sewing the shadows together”. Oh my, what an image! Best wishes for the start, Katya.

    • kczaja says:

      Lawrence’s imagery is beautiful.
      We don’t have nighthawks here but I’d love to see one.

  5. Mary Lee says:

    I love to watch the swallows flying behind the mowers when they mow the soccer field at school!

    • kczaja says:

      I guess they’re clever enough to recognize an easy meal. I bet the mower scares up a lot of bugs.

  6. I do love that Teasdale poem. Summers just don’t seem to have the same lazy days I remember as a child. The busy-ness doesn’t stop, just becomes different for a short season, then settles back into the school routine. I hope you get lots of work done on the WIP.

  7. Laura Shovan says:

    Hi, Katya. I also spent a lot of summers in the Catskills growing up. So beautiful. The bat poems reminded me of the time a bat got into our cabin at summer camp. Mayhem!

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