This is the year
when the swallows did not come back

you have not noticed

now all spring
the evenings’ messages
are no longer passing through
the feet of swallows
lined up in a row
holding you
under the high
strung sparks of their voices

with the notes of that
music changing
as once more they would go
sailing out and once more
singly or in pairs or
several together
across the long light they would
skim low over the gardens
and down the steep pastures
and over the river
and would come back to their places
to go on telling
what was there while it was there

you do not hear
what is missing