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This poem is taken from PN Review 143, Volume 28 Number 3, January - February 2002.

Plato's Aviary Andrew McNeillie

(i) Y Wennol (Swallow Hirundo rustica)
i.m. R.S. Thomas, d. 25 September 2000

That when in you migrates to my tongue,
Now you are gone and the sky turns wintry.

We can't say that we saw you leave.
But suddenly the skies are bare and soon the trees.

In any language the word for absence is empty
But of what we need time to tell.

Nothing I know, from the way I'll always see you
Skimming the hay-meadow in westerly light

After however many thousand miles have fallen
To your sickle and still you wheel and dart

Declaring to the skies one makes a spring
Forever, forget summer and winter in the heart.


(ii) Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Where the valley sags and the stream's
Glacier fritters briefly in a shallow run
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