Two Swifts Shrieking – a poem about loss

Two Swifts Shrieking


Two swifts wheeling in the sky

Shrieking with delight –

Not missing their brethren?


In days not long gone

Those same skies

Were full of flocks of screaming swifts.


The air, now a desert,

Teemed with insects

That were scooped with such glee.


There was enough

For many swifts

To gorge themselves and feed their chicks.


Now those insects

Are hard to find

And the future is looking dim.


Do they now shriek with delight or horror?


Opher 23.6.2018



It is so noticeable to me that the skies are emptying. We were so used to seeing the swifts, swallows and house martins, the filter feeders of the skies, putting on their aerial displays.

Where once there were flocks now they appear in pairs. The flocks have gone.

The skies that once buzzed with insects are empty. The insects have gone. There is no food.

The barns and house eaves that provided nesting sites are all knocked down, cleaned up and gone.

It is hard to believe the changes that have taken place in the space of one lifetime.

Were those two swifts really shrieking with delight! I feel they cry in desperation.



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