Christopher Southgate

Swifts

Watched over the Lyon river
On our honeymoon
Watched around the Galata Tower in Istanbul
And in their busy, hurtling dance
Here at Carcassonne, against this film-set
Of Visigothic towers that interrupt
The sun.

Swifts have been mascots
Of our love, and like our love
Fly with one half of their brains
Even when the other half sleeps.
And they are always looking, looking
For next prey, as we have looked hungrily
For the world.

One day
Swifts will roost and close their wings
Let it not be soon.

Christopher Southgate lives on the edge of Dartmoor. His latest book of poetry is Rain Falling by the River (Canterbury Press). He has also published a series of collections with Shoestring Press, the most recent being Chasing the Raven. He teaches at the University of Exeter.