In the silence of this August evening
I’m watching the swifts as they hurtle
round the eaves.
They seem to have done with screeching
and soon enough they’ll leave us for the south
and warmer skies.
They have deserts to cross, but don’t we all:
autumn is dry for the elderly despite the lack of heat
and the need of a mirage –
To hurtle is a verb
that’s changing tense:
migrations or transmigrations?
Once again deserts sound familiar;
Like mother, father, and the spectre of that
old Tridentine Mass
when swifts around the eaves of that small church
intoned their high-pitched prayers
for all departing.
The first unhurried, pale and ghostlike leaves
detach themselves like clichés from the past
and as they fall as fathomless
the silent stars observe the cold reprise
of Perseids that shower down like sparks
or hot conceits.