William Page: "Swifts"


The heavens closed their shop of sun,

and on the west horizon darkness comes in

riding the wings of evening.

Over an ocean a thousand miles away

the swifts are rowing their wings

below clouds still holding                  

a glimmer of gold while the moon

is biding its time. How amazing

that these small creatures with feathers

no thicker than the falling leaf

from a maple tree can carry them

so rapidly their name is Swift.

It’s true these birds can fly

a thousand miles in only the time

Earth turns once on its axis.

Would that I could accomplish something

so remarkable in a lifetime of rushing.



William Page's third volume of poems, Bodies Not Our Own (Memphis State University Press, 1986), was awarded a Walter R. Smith Distinguished Book Award. Another collection, William Page’s Greatest Hits: 1970-2000, is available from Pudding House Publications.  His poems have also appeared widely in literary journals, including North American Review, Southern Review, Southwest Review, Rattle, Ploughshares, Literary Review, American Literary Review, Mississippi Review, Wisconsin Review, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Quarterly, Sewanee Review, Southern Poetry Review, Pedestal Magazine, and in a number of print or online anthologies.