Returning

Barn Swallows

The old barns on this summer island

Are being used for theaters,

For studios, garages, or just

To house the overflow of guests.

The barn swallows have built their nests

Over the doorway of the town hall.

I saw them there tonight, asleep.

I wonder if the swallows miss

The smell of horse and harness leather,

Of sweet white clover in the haymow,

Of full warm udders ready to be milked,

Of cats, and corn, and brown wheat bran.

I wonder if they miss the sound

Of breathing, chewing, snorting, nuzzling,

The rustle of a mouse, a cricket

Shrilling; and Grandpa calling back,

``Leave the barn door open just

A little crack - for the swallows.''

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