The swifts in early summer

The swifts have arrived for the summer
and are out, up, darting and swerving, criss-crossing
below, here, the air is cool and birds are loud
down below the water rushes and small drops threaten
from the sky where fitful grey and white clouds
suspend themselves, move sluggishly

my heart beats, I feel the pulse in my
fingertips, but I am tired and like to sit
do nothing but gaze at the trees and the
small birds flitting and feeding, watch
the small red squirrels quietly munching from their hands
and scarcely follow the bursty, flighty woodpecker

in the wider world, much happens, too weighty -
I don't like to know what I can't help -
and a car moves up the road out front -

it is a dull, quiet day, with cool airs and twitterings,
but it makes me happy sitting here with my
musings of many years and roads my heart
has walked upon -

I have seen them slide by one by one, all the loves
as if they had somewhere better to go, and left,
travelling roads I could not follow: into
other worlds or where I was not wanted

I am a refuge of quiet space, desultory, left alone
and all the places I have borne in my capacious
soul are still there, somewhere, never lost
though with myself I never came first.

I must travel city-wise today, later, and leave
again, somewhere I wish to be: a life spent
wishing to be somewhere else
is no life lived at all, and maybe peace

is finally found within, not something searched
for in the dross of days and the clamberings
in unfamiliar ways of obligation and intent
where duty holds sway, and responsibility

is not heaven-sent .. and so comes the
soft, June rain, forcing me inside again
to chores and worries that never leave

like friends, or those that bore you, 
years ago, when you were a wished-for

It is all too much, and I have no answer
to the wearing of the days, in their hundreds and thousands
that fashioned me like ore
for tasks I never wished to have
that have only made me tired, and sore
in ways I cannot mend.

To the orange skies of the city
and people piled in boxes either side
of the streets, facing away
from those you might meet: anonymity

in droves herded onto transports
and whisked away to other 
boxes of the day, the prisons
of our time:  duty, responsibility
always to others
greater than the self
and no time left to understand.

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