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First fledged

2014-06-20 15.48.34

It is the eve of Midsummer
– the nights are hardly dark.
As I clean the bunkhouse my attention focussed on the task,
working to an economy that I have polished through practise
occupied with interior things
while the sucklers lie among the ox-eye daisies in long grass
keeping half an eye on their fat calves,
starlings gang on the tin roof
partridges rattle from concealing tussocks-
and a swallow alights on the sill of the stairside window
– sits there as I work, facing the glass,
its eyes following my movements to and fro with broom and vacuum.
There is something strange in this inactivity
when the damp shade below the birch limbs
hold promise of insects where other birds are working.
One of these joins the first on the ledge, proffers a beakful of insects
revealing itself as parent
and the other a fledgling fresh from the mud-daubed, featherlined nest.
I am jolted straight to summer’s end when old and young depart.
This bird has a summer to grow and strengthen,
the parents have time to raise another brood,
and I have projects to complete
before the leaves fall.

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