The Swallows

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Following the mountains

the journey turns south,

Washes over roads

and between arroyos,

it is written in the sky above.

Scratched into the tire marks of transport,

it darkens

the temporary shelter,

from out of the elements

under a motionless roof,

a sodden rug, a couch no less elegant,

a place to hang a hammock

between the pillars

in the cloister garden courtyard

for just one night.

Summer shows cracks of autumn.

Leaves to cold stone,

the frost is coming

to leave scars on windows

in villages so high up

they seem perched precariously

in ravines of these passing scenes.

Cold wind through the chimes

precipitates the search for warmer climes

where the jungle falls into the sea

eventually he will reach Mismaloya.

Climbing hills at twilight

to gather a bucket of stars,

to empty into alleys after the rain,

serene streams moving over cobbles

bringing with it the scent of soil

calming, audible

it sets alight

the quiverring of  leaves

falling like embers

into the aroma of open fires

and fresh baked tortillas.

This strange lodger,

disheveled, wrapped in a poncho.

With no recognizable features,

is somehow illuminated

by a light now gleaming in the narrows,

like the swallows streaming

from out of cracks in the armor.

Their dance is arresting for a moment,

like a beautiful language

from out of shuttered windows.

Listen for their voices

like the ragged hymns of a chorus

awash in folklore.

Tonight the village lights candles

on the family cemetary floor.

On makeshift alters

they offer food and drink,

sugar skulls to sweeten the loss

of loved ones that passed

solemnly in procession

with glowing hands

they cup the santeria.

Dia de los muertos

Under the volcano

Draped in clouds of darkened shawls,

widowed in the shifting sky

of the eye that watches it all

from an attic window.

Above the white-washed balconies,

beyond the vines and terraced gardens

deep in the south,

you see him there in the distance

of fields and fallen walls.

Randy moving languidly

between the sounding of the bells

on ocher pathways

of terra-cotta and broken shells.

Seeming to climb behind the clouds,

he swallows golden light

to shoot out in prisms,

fractured, all his prisons

fall away with illuminated wings

to fly freely.

Perhaps the swallows he kept seeing

were angels all along.

Trapped in his chest

but hemmed in no longer,

they now circle the sky with every breath.

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6 thoughts on “The Swallows

  1. luggagelady says:

    Amazingly beautiful imagery! Thanks for whisking me away on this incredible journey…

  2. keifer22 says:

    dom i agree with luggagelady .the imagery is awesome’ i think they were angels. nick

    • domtakis says:

      One interesting side note about the swallows, I was seeing them everywhere when I was in Bologna. I used to wander aimlessly and sometimes they would stop me in my tracks with their dance above. One such time I realized I was at the intersection of Orfeo and Degli Angeli (Orpheus and the angels) that’s when I used to trip out on the thought that maybe they were angels. One actually flew in through our window at the apartment and got trapped in the attic for awhile! I guess we find our own significance.

  3. Nature brings us messages. …..you have seen and expressed one in beautiful poetry here.

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