by Sandra Rippetoe © 2020
for Edwina Roy
Once upon a time a little girl –
Edwina was her name –
grew up on a beautiful farm
with both wild things and tame.
To the barn, she rode her bike
as she was fond of doing.
She loved passing by the trees
and hearing the cows mooing.
Right inside the barn door
something caught her eye.
There was a bird flapping around.
It wasn’t able to fly.
Upon closer inspection
she identified the bird.
It was a barn swallow
and at that moment she heard . . .
the song of the swallow.
To her it was sweet.
She smiled at the melody.
What a pleasant way to greet!
Edwina noted its tail feathers
were unusually short.
This bird was a female –
a male soon would court.
She looked at the bird tenderly
and very quietly spoke,
“Your wing will heal soon.
You’ll get back with your folk.”
“I’m naming you Serenity.
Do you want to know why?
Because I think that’s how birds feel
when they fly through the sky.”
Edwina made a bird bath
that sat right on the ground.
She also made a hiding place,
“For when you don’t want to be found.”
Hmmm –You’ll need food,
the little girl thought.
She walked to the store
and birdseed was bought.
Serenity loved to eat bugs
but didn’t care much for seed.
On beetles and grasshoppers,
she’d much rather feed.
Through the spring and summer
faithfully each day,
Edwina fed her dear bird friend
and watched it splash and play.
One day in the barn
she couldn’t believe what she saw.
The swallow lifted off the ground a bit
and made a loud, “caw.”
Then Serenity strutted out of that barn –
on a sunny afternoon in September.
She attentively looked all around,
as if trying to remember.
Though her wing was a bit crooked,
Serenity lifted off to fly.
Edwina watched with amazement
as the bird dove through the sky.
The bird circled around her
and then swooped down so low
right over her head,
as if the bird wanted her to know. . .
something. Was it a goodbye
or gratitude for the care?
With a twist and a twirl
Serenity flew high in the air.
Up and away the bird went.
Edwina ran as fast as she could,
‘til the barbed wire fence.
She stopped there, as she should.
“Bye bye,” Edwina waved
shedding happy and sad tears.
“Please remember me and this place.
Come back next year!”
You see Edwina had been reading.
There was much she had learned.
After spending winters in South America,
barn swallows return.
It was a long cold winter
with lots of ice and snow.
In boots, Edwina walked to the barn.
It was a habit . . . you know.
Finally March arrived.
Dandelions dotted the ground yellow.
Edwina looked to the sky
longing to see her barn swallow.
Then, one day, she exclaimed,
“There’s a black fleck! No! Two !
in the distance far away.
It’s Serenity, I can tell – –
coming back here to stay!”
Indeed it was two barn swallows.
They landed not far from her feet.
Edwina said, “Hello Serenity!
You’ve a friend for me to meet!”
Edwina pranced around with joy
and the two birds began to sing.
Serenity had survived
with her mended broken wing.
Each and every year now in March,
the birds fly back to this plot – –
to the barn on Edwina’s farm – –
to this same exact spot.