Swifts (for Sankaram Kumar*)

Seasonal migrants of our global economy,
they don’t need papers to come here to work,
dashing all over like underpaid waiters,
they screech as they whirl about and never stop.

Harvesting much of our surplus winged insects
with no time to relax, they eat on the wing,
ducking and diving so long the sun shines,
‘cos any bad weather will bring down the crop.

When the picking is over they queue up to fly
back over continents, mountains and seas
but, if they only go south for the winter,
the question arises as to where they belong.

In a world without frontiers, as it is for the birds,
the question is meaningless, pointless to ask –
life is a struggle, as it’s always been,
if they claim a homeland, they do it with song.

rs 8.6.07*

* [‘voluntarily’ repatriated this day]