Swift encounter

For a few seconds
the swift lies there
warm and still,
except for the beating
of her heart.

Then, from inside
her frail body,
grows a vibration
of unbelievable

Her wings
start to flutter,
but nothing matches
the speed
of this hidden

she tells us
that all is well.

The reason
she has been brought
is that once
a swift lands
on the ground
she becomes

She cannot rise
into the air again
without assistance.

The spread
of her wings is great
in comparison
with the length
of her body
and her short legs
so good
at clinging
onto walls,
and other steep
nesting sites,
that even
an uninjured swift
can only crawl

Our ‘brief encounter’ swift
is rested for an hour or so
and is then taken up
to the meadows
behind the hospital.

Here, we toss her
gently into the air.
Her wings open,
ready to catch
the wind,
and with rapid beats
they lift her
higher and higher
as she swoops
and circles
in joyous





Heidi Stephenson

By Heidi Stephenson

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One Response to Swift encounter

    1. Thanks. Such observations of birds, and so well described with affection, are always welcome.

      Comment by David Chorlton on 17 August, 2019 at 1:13 pm

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