English Српски Deutsch עברית Türkçe Hrvatski Nederlands Español Русский Français Italiano Polski Română



Shira Twersky-Cassel


Year of the Swift

Cross-cross, mountain swift
dark winged silent-swift descending
to rend transparent firmament
in sacred Sabbath-eve twilight.

You soar over the city weaving
rainbow filament of wounded rose covered hills
of bougainvilla bush and flowering caper
and fired-tongued Moses fern.

Enter and depart the haloed ring of light
that is Jerusalem, with longing hearts
give up great hallelujah screams and shouts,

for you have not chosen lyrical song.
It is stout stamina you long for
and the ecstasy of endless flight,
earned in clamorous delight
of the great and open skies.

Threaded on air, a swift-pair join
in sudden drop to my rooftop. We meet
splintered in time – to part and part again.

© translated from the Hebrew by the poet:
Shira Twersky-Cassel




Shira Twersky-Cassel


Sparrow and Swift

The plain, the clever Sparrow
walks through the air
turns a corner easy.

The Mountain Swift
cuts across the veils of time
enters our dimension now and then
to take our breath away.

But the Sparrow, the Dror
whose Hebrew name means freedom,
the Dror has chosen Man.

© translated from the Hebrew by the poet:
Shira Twersky-Cassel





G. Mützel


Source Brehm 1882

Alpensegler (Apus melba) und Mauersegler (Apus apus), ½ natürliche Größe

The Alpine Swift and the Common Swift shown at one-half scale




Leoncavallo: Pagliacci (1892)

Nedda's song

What a fire in his glance!
I lowered my eyes for fear
That he read my secret thoughts.
Oh, if he ever caught me,
Brute that he is! But enough of that,
These are mere fearful and idle dreams.
Oh, beautiful mid-August sun!
And I, bursting with life, languid with desire,
And yet not knowing what it is I long for!
(looks up at the sky)
Oh what a flight of birds, what clamour!
What do they seek? Where do they go? Who knows?
My mother, who foretold the future,
Understood their song and even so
She sang to me as a child.
Hui! How wildly they shout up there,
Launched on their flight like arrows!
They defy storm-clouds and burning sun,
As they fly on and on through the heaven.
Light-thirsty ones, avid for air and splendour,
Let them pursue their journey; they, too,
Follow a dream and a chimera,
Journeying on and on through clouds of gold,
When winds blow and storms howl,
They challenge all with open wings;
Neither rain nor lightning daunts them,
Neither sea nor chasms, as they fly on and on.
They journey towards a strange land yonder,
A land they've dreamt of, which they seek in vain.
Vagabonds of the sky, who obey only
The secret force that drives them on and on.

Wie flammte auf sein Auge!
Ich senkte die Blicke zur Erde, voller Furcht,
dass er mein geheimen Gedanken lesen konne!
Oh, wenn er mich uberraschte,
brutal, wie er ist!
Doch genug, er ist weg.
Diese Gedanken sind furchtbar und wirr!
Oh diese Schone Sonne des Augusts!
Ich bin so voll von Leben und, voll von Sehnen,
geheimen Wunschen, die ich nicht kenne!
Oh! Wie die Vogelein fliegen, und wie sie singen!
Was singen sie? Wohin fliegen sie?
Wer weiss? Meine Mutter,
die die Zukunft weissagen konnte,
verstand ihr Singen und sang zu mir in der Kindheit:
Hui! Hui! Dort oben rufend, frei,
im Fluge sich vergessend, wie Pfeile fliegen die Vogel.
Sie achten weder Wolken noch die strahlende Sonne,
fliegen auf den Wegen des Himmels dahin.
Lass sie durch den Himmel fliegen,
auf der Suche navh Blaue und Glanz;
jeder folgt einem Traum, einem Wunsch,
wenn sie durch goldene Wolken fliegen!
Wie der Wind auch weht unde der Donner rollt,
mit offenen Schwingen trotzen sie allem;
dem Regen, den Blitzen, nichts kann sie aufhalten,
sie fliegen uber Abgrund und Meer.
Sie machen sich auf in ein fremdes Land,
von dem sie traumen und das sie vergebens suchen.
Doch die Wanderer des Himmels
folgen einer geheimen Macht, die sie fortzieht.



A photograph like a painting: A group of Common Swifts flying over the grand landscape of Neustadt an der Weinstraße (Germany)



Published with kind permission of (c) Martin Grund


John Dryden (1666):

Annus Mirabilis No. 110

As in a drought the thirsty creatures cry,
And gape upon the gather'd clouds for rain;
And first the martlet meets it in the sky,
And with wet wings joys all the feather'd train.

T. Park (1803):

Sonnet. Occasioned by disengaging a Martlet from the jaws of a Cat

Herald of Summer! hapless was the flight
From thy mud hermitage or chimnied cell,
To skim the streamlet where, since dawn of light,
In the long spear-grass lurk'd grimalkin fell;
For while in airy cirque thy rapid wing
Fann'd the young swarms that hover near the flood,
Yon dark assassin, at one deadly spring,
Fix'd his strong talons in thy innocent blood!
Nor ever can thy shatter'd pinion tower
To milder climes when wintry white-frosts chill,
Nor hither flit at April's balmy hour
To mould thy matted nest with plastic bill:-
Like some sad alien from Gallia's shore,
Here wert thou exil'd, to return no more!

P. Whittle (1831)

Birds - Aves

Ye birds that fly thro' the fields of air,
What lessons of truth and wisdom ye bear;
Ye would teach our souls from the earth to rise,
Ye would bid us its grovelling scenes despise.
Ye would tell us that all its pursuits are vain,
That pleasure is toil - ambition is pain,
That its bliss is touched with a poisoning leaven.
Ye would teach us to fix our aim on heaven.


Commonswift Worldwide © Ulrich Tigges

Apus apus, Swifts, Commonswift, gierzwaluw, vencejo comun, sis hachomot, סיס החומות, Црна чиопа, Kara Sağan, Čiopa, ciopa, chyorny strizh, Gierzwaluw (Apus apus), Vencejo común, Черный Стриж, Martinet noir, Rondone comune, rondoni, åtactara, السمامة, Mauersegler, Apuslife

Commonswift's topography, togography of the Commonswift, feathers, crown, eye line, eye patch, forecrown, lore, chin, throat, ear coverts, hindneck, mantle, scapulars, rump, uppertail coverts, tail, tertials, greater coverts, secondaries, median coverts, leading edge coverts, lesser coverts, lesser primary coverts, alula, median primary coverts, leading edge coverts, greater primary coverts, primaries, median coverts, greater coverts, secondaries, axillaries, undertail, undertail coverts, rear flank, vent, flank, belly, brest, apodidae, apodiformes, size, color, colour, weight, sex, flight acquaintance, flight speed, age, food, enemies, pair bonding, nest, eggs, egg, young, bad weather, voice, download wave file, survive, survival, colony, flying insects



Site map