The Sunday Whirl,, Wordle #25, with the words rambunctious, admire, swallows, pond, ballroom, obsolete, hat-rack, fallow,  crumb, bell, automobile, and garden, presented me with a wonderful challenge. As I try to delve deeper into meaning and emotion, I’m hoping for some feedback on this one.

by Mike Patrick

Flickr image by Hiyashi Haka

Every spring since our marriage,
our two swallows returned.
Prompt and dependable, she would appear,
first on the wire between the house and the barn,
then on that hat-rack looking, dwarf maple tree.
He would dart in and out of the old barn,
checking around the obsolete hay rake
and Dad’s antique automobile parked in the dusty stalls.
Then he would flit up to their nest in the loft.
There was something permanent about it,
a mud cup, safely wedded to the roof joist,
beyond the reach of anything that could separate them.

All spring and summer they labored, loved and played.
How you admired their swift dip and soar as they would
glide above the fallow garden,
skim the pond;
and snag insects out of mid-air
in a graceful ballroom dance.
Their joyous warble filling our ears as the sun set.

The perfect couple.
So tenderly they cared for each other and their babies.
The offspring were so cutely rambunctious,
fighting for every crumb, wrestling around,
threatening to push each other out of the nest,
but they persevered—at least until the fall.

As the weather cooled,
perhaps they needed to see new sights,
or hear the Capistrano bells.
Something pulled them away from their home,
but they always found their way back in spring.
They did this year.
I wish you could have seen them with me.

This entry was posted in A Wording Whirl of Sundays, animals, Family, Free Verse, Lost Love, Love, Nature, Poetry, Un-rhyming and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to THE MISSING PIECE

  1. Oh Mike Patrick…. Literally a breath-taking poem… Lovely throughout as I followed the swoop of your bonded swallows…. Picking insects from the air…touching the talismans of various objects …moving me around ….until that last line….oh my … What a finale …. Exquisite and moved from lulled security of continued love to stark longing. BRAVO,!

  2. vivinfrance says:

    Mike, there is much lovely writing in this beautiful poem, and I liked the double meaning of “fall”.

    I think it could do with a little pruning – maybe cutting one or two of the wordle words that stick out like a sore thumb. (Sacrilege, do I hear you say?). Just because it is free verse doesn’t mean abandoning the need for rhythm and flow. “The offspring were so cutely rambunctious,” is a hell of a mouthful!

    • Mike Patrick says:

      I agree, Viv. This is still a rough draft. There is still a lot I want to do with it, but it is a wordle, and I wanted to get it posted promptly. I’ve been reading another of the books Margo recommended, In the Palm of Your Hand by Steve Kowit, and this was an experiment from the book. Since I’ve been doing all this studying, prompts are making things difficult. There is almost a demand that they be posted quickly so that they can be read by the others posting to the same prompt. I’m now realizing how much time it takes to do the finesse editing needed to improve a poem. This one will take another week or so of work.

  3. Nanka says:

    You described the songbirds migratory patterns and habits very well!! Not very common for me here in the city and in this region!! Now I wish I could see them too!!

  4. Irene says:

    A poignant ending, Mike. I realise what the missing piece was. You told the tale well through the swallows.

  5. adeeyoyo says:

    Beautiful, Mike… I could picture them and shared their visit with you… lovely!

  6. Oh, but I have, thanks to your word painting. I love your poem.

  7. Mike says:

    A lovely poem Mike and a great use of the wordle words. They fitted so effortlessly into this piece.
    Your words evoked some great imagery – so many great lines, I think my favourite has to be ‘that hat-reack looking, dwarf maple tree.

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Thanks, Mike. That is the kind of feed back I was hoping for. “Hat-rack” is one of the words I had a hard time with (along with automobile and rambunctious). I’m not sure it will survive the final edit.

  8. It is a lovely read. I could almost feel their flight in and out of the barn as they went to their nest.
    I agree with Viv on that sentence having too many descriptive words too. But, it is a lovely read Mike!

    • Mike Patrick says:

      Thank you, DDT. That line, and several other are facing the editor’s firing squad. I know all the words don’t have to be used, but I put them in for the first draft at least.

  9. Janet says:

    Mike, this is STUNNING! …’or hear the Capistrano bells’…Brilliant, as is the last line.
    Hat-rack was my hard word too:)

  10. nan says:

    This conveys the ache of separation very well. I too had trouble with hat-rack and like how you worked it in to this excellent write.

  11. Mike, this is gorgeous. You fit hat-rack in there neatly. It was one of my words, that gave me a devil of a time. Until, I went with the poemlets…


  12. Paula Rae says:

    This makes me think of the hummingbirds feeding out our window this summer. They recently left for the winter and are missed already. Very nice!

  13. Susannah says:

    That is really beautiful! You have used the wordle words to create a wonderful story, I loved it. 🙂

  14. Kay Davies says:

    Ah, and then the swallows go back to Capistrano, and the old car in the barn has only the hay-rake for company.
    A lovely first draft, a perfect romance.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  15. Beautiful, with such a sad, wistful ending. Great job!

  16. brenda w says:

    Mike this is beautiful. I loved the ending, although it was a surprise, the wish deepened the overall mood of the poem greatly. Excellent write!

  17. Kerry O'Connor says:

    I love swallows! The happiest day of September for me is when I see the have returned from the North to enjoy the African summer with me.. so if you were wondering where they are now, they’re flying above my garden.

  18. Marian says:

    ah, i had the feeling it would end that way but that last line still made me catch my breath.
    also, LOVE “mud cup.”

  19. Tilly Bud says:

    Another bittersweet poem. It’s lovely, but I think you could pare it down a little.

    The tree/hat-rack image is great, but the line feels over-written.

    I love the double pairings in this poem.

  20. neelthemuse says:

    Nice one Mike….simplicity is what makes romance so zennish…it’s just a way of being comfortable with one another…..

  21. 1sojournal says:

    Some of the wordle words do get awkward. Rambunctious and hat-rack were real problems this week. But, I’m glad to know you consider these pieces only drafts and will find a way to keep this beautiful poem together. It is definitely worth the effort.


  22. siggiofmaine says:

    A unique take on the words. I enjoyed the poem/story of the swallows very much.
    A draft it may be, but I would love to see this when you have it the way you prefer it.
    ☮ Siggi in Downeast Maine

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