Poem of the week: Swallows by Michael Longley

Michael Longley  at his home in Belfast. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Michael Longley at his home in Belfast. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

for Ethna Viney

Have the swallows returned,
Ethna, to your woodshed,
Their Thallabaun address,
Your household’s annex?

Your hospitality
Every year makes room
For Saharan travellers
And for me from Belfast.

I sit at your table
While swallows fed their young
Penetrating darkness
Through the narrowest gap.

You who are ninety now
Have the swallow’s genius
To find above a door
Soul-space, an inch of it.

Michael Longley’s most recent and 12th collection is The Candlelight Maker (Cape Poetry)