Swifts, a poem, a handmade book

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I’ve never lived under swifts before.  Last summer they tilted up Ludlow’s steep hills, riding the warm air and skimming the garden.  Then they soared back over the eaves of the Victorian terraces.  Again and again, in screaming, flaring groups.  And then at the end of July they were gone.

I wrote a poem about them, which played in my head for weeks after they’d started back to Africa.  Eventually, to ‘slow’ the poem down, I experimented with turning it into a book.  For a couple of weeks I had a great time tinkering around with gesso, pastels, glue and scissors.  Talented artist and poet Emily Wilkinson encouraged me and we spent a floody January afternoon making books together.  Emily makes beautiful artworks from found poetry – more on her blog.

I asked at the Library and they found me a late 19th century map of Ludlow, which actually shows our house and garden (with paths, and bushes), and even better, another, earlier map, which details the fields, and their field-names, before the houses were built.  And year on year on year, the swifts flew back to Ludlow.

Now it’s April, and soon I’ll see them again.

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