“‘Twas the last week the swallow would remain — “

Yesterday evening I had a bit of a stroll, and I noticed that there were quite a few more swallows about.  They darted and swooped, but mostly, and this was a bit odd, they also roosted a bit in tree limbs.  I concluded that this was a flock that was resting as it migrated southward, … amid the yellowing leaves.

From the Laudator:

Charles Turner, The First Week in October, from his Small Tableaux (London: Macmillan and Co., 1868), p. 59:

Once on an autumn day as I reposed
Beneath a noon-beam, pallid yet not dull,
The branch above my head dipt itself full
Of that white sunshine momently, and closed;
While, ever and anon, the ashen keys
Dropt down beside the tarnished hollyhocks,
The scarlet crane’s-bill, and the faded stocks,—
Flung from the shuffling leafage by the breeze.
How wistfully I marked the year’s decay,
Forecasting all the dreary wind and rain;
‘Twas the last week the swallow would remain—
How jealously I watched his circling play!
A few brief hours, and he would dart away,
No more to turn upon himself again.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. shadowlands says:

    They know and accept, by instinct, that which we, are given the grace to choose. God’s Will. Not everyone, sees it as a grace. Yet.

  2. rakesvines says:

    It is poetic but poignant in reminding how ephemeral is our worldly pilgrimage. I was reflecting of this same subject today as I posted http://divine-ripples.blogspot.com/2010/10/think-of-this-and-youll-live-fully.html While heaven is our home, I still will grieve when it is my time to go – just like the swallows when they leave you in the Fall.

  3. tianzhujiao says:

    Swallows…….I can’t help thinking about “yan wo tan” (swallow’s nest soup)

  4. dcs says:

    I thought perhaps you were making a reference to Oscar Wilde’s wonderful short story “The Happy Prince.”

  5. danphunter1 says:

    I have never seen swallows roost but whilst in Swansea, Wales I did see this bird roosting:
    A most Illustrious bird.

  6. q7swallows says:

    Having just commented on my own funeral in a previous post about vestment colors, I guess the ultimate migration is on a lot of minds today.

    Perhaps the swallows–like those of us who frequent this blog–roosted near you because they found shelter, security, mystery, beauty, rest, nourishment, and welcome . . . .

    Thank you for this beautiful interlude of poetry in the middle of my day, Father.

  7. elaurier says:

    No swallows there, but I am SO missing central WI this time of year! This is the week of my birthday and around the first of the month I always become acutely aware that the year has slipped away again…but I so enjoy the beauty of autumn. The very word makes me wistful.

  8. Supertradmum says:

    The swallows left this area weeks ago. It is so sad. I love them. Some used to “buzz” my big cat, if he got outside. I am afraid the birds are telling us we are in for a long, hard, winter, although today in Iowa, the temperature was 75F and tomorrow it is supposed to get up to 80F.

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