Elizabeth Burns lives in Lancaster, United Kingdom. Her latest collection of poetry is Held (Polygon) and her pamphlets include winner of the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlets, The shortest days (Galdragon), and The scarlet thread (Wayleave), which is currently a Poetry Book Society featured pamphlet.
When I was a swallow, I could fly ten thousand miles
without stopping. I could swoop from one side
of the globe to the other, over land, over sea
in one great sweep. When I was a swallow
I knew when to leave the wheeling sky
above that high wall where I nested:
I could feel days shortening, evenings
growing darker. I did not want winter,
I wanted summer always under my wings,
each year I headed southwards, southwards,
as if the south pole pulled me there, as if by this
I could outwit the turning earth, the lowering sun.