Poem for July

The Swallows’ Nest

Shutters, broken,
firewood, a rake, a wrought-
iron bed, the torch-lit
rafters of the lumber-room,
you showing me

one bird tucked in a home-
made bracket of spittle
and earth, while its mate slept
perched on the rim, at an angle
exact as a raised latch.

by Kathleen Jamie

Kathleen Jamie was born in Renfrewshire in 1962 and is widely admired as one of Scotland’s foremost poets. As well as a poet she is an essayist and travel writer and in books like her genre-breaking prose collection’Findings’ her talent for precise observation has found a wider audience. ‘The Swallow’s Nest’ is taken from her collection ‘The Tree House’ (Picador 2004).                                                            Words and poem selected by David Underdown.