It is the equinox, the official end of long summer days. It is thought that this rather than any change of temperature is the way the migrating birds know they must leave for Africa’s warmth and food. The swifts usually go in August but house martins often have a second brood and will leave as late as September. The bee-eaters gather together too around this time. At Navasola there have been storms so perhaps some are still waiting to go. Here are two poems to two of Navasola’s summer visitors. One who has become a character in my novel and this drawing of him by my artist friend Ruth. His name is Abe Apio and he flies north in a quest to find a cooler place for a Navaselva buff-tailed bumblebee.
Abe Apio the bee-eater of my dreams.
Abe Apio you never leave me
Your brightness stirs my words
As your story moves me to write
Of your struggle to save
Not just bees.
You Can Not Keep a Swallow in a Zoo
This child delights in her own toy zoo,
A gorilla and tiger stalking through
A mat of savannah tufted strands.
A plastic fence surrounds a zebra.
A lion lies down with a flamingo.
The sun beats through a round bay window
Of a neat corner house with stained glass
Swallows at the front door and on the wall.
All this made the warmth of summer kind
In a chilly northern seaside town.
And this child did not know
What she knows now.
You can not keep a swallow in a zoo.
Now she counts the swallows as so few fly by.
The ones with red rump feathers preened
Prefer these southern lands with barns,
And ruins of long ago times,
Where with martins and swifts.
Built nests under old tiled roofs.
With holes and a rural disregard
For cleanliness that bleaches bare all life.
We thought some swallows might adorn our porch
But one hit a window and took a time
To fly again high enough to see
The windows of heaven
Where the ark is waiting.
Each poem conforms to my challenge to write 26 poems for the 26 miles of the London marathon which was not run this year and many charities have lost vital funds. A poem will either have 26 words and be haiku inspired or 26 lines. Each poem will be about different species found around Navasola.
My charity is the Royal Society for Protection of Birds and their links with Birdlife International. Please help them help the birds that know no borders. Much work has gone on to protect habitats and raise awareness of the importance of birds to the balance of nature. The decline in bird numbers and in particular swallows is worrying.