Swallows are a sure sign of spring the world over. The famous swallows of San Juan Capistrano are Cliff Swallows, but for me, Tree Swallows signal both the end of winter in March and its new beginning around October.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe poem clearly perceived the connection between swallows and spring, which he memorialized in a poem fittingly and succinctly titled March.  I had no idea that the renowned, supremely influential German novelist , playwright (Goethe’s most popular piece, Faust, is a great work of genius), courtier, scholar, and natural philosopher was also a splendid poet, but here’s the proof:

Goethe, 1817

The snow-flakes fall in showers,

The time is absent still,
When all Spring’s beauteous flowers,
When all Spring’s beauteous flowers

Our hearts with joy shall fill.

With lustre false and fleeting

The sun’s bright rays are thrown;
The swallow’s self is cheating:
The swallow’s self is cheating,

And why? He comes alone!

Can I e’er feel delighted

Alone, though Spring is near?
Yet when we are united,
Yet when we are united,

The Summer will be here.

Goethe probably didn’t have Tree Swallows in mind when he wrote this beautiful poem, but these gorgeous azure aerialists are worthy of song!

Tree Swallow by Mike Bergin

If you liked this poem and would like to browse the entire archive of poetry posts on 10,000 Birds please check out our Bird Poems page.

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.