October 23rd is the traditonal date for the swallows to depart from San Juan Capistrano. Thousands of San Juan Capistrano’s famous cliff swallows leave town every year in a swirling mass, the beginning of a 6,000 mile migration to their wintering grounds in Argentina.
American poet and violinist Leonora Speyer was born in Washington, D.C., in 1872. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1927 for her poetry collection Fiddler’s Farewell.
To read Leonora Speyer’s poem “Swallows” click:
by Leonora Speyer
They dip their wings in the sunset,
They dash against the air
As if to break themselves upon its stillness:
In every movement, too swift to count,
Is a revelry of indecision,
A furtive delight in trees they do not desire
And in grasses that shall not know their weight.
They hover and lean toward the meadow
With little edged cries;
As if frightened at the earth’s nearness,
They seek the high austerity of evening sky
And swirl into its depth.
“Swallows” is in the public domain.