On still evenings like this that fail to shift
the day’s heat before it is too late,
when planes seem to lumber and heave
low on their path – this is when the swifts strike,
their last searing raids. And what shows,
as witness to their screeching at the cliff edge of sky,
is the sense of their journey blazed above our own;
the barriers they will break as they tear into light.
Swifts, so wrought from sky that to fold the urge
of their wings, even for a moment, is to fail.
Soon they will sever in two a sense of time –
before, as they gather the nerve of their going,
then after, after they have gone, in the empty hanger of sky.

Charlie Druce was born and raised in rural Worcestershire and, armed with an English and Media degree, moved to London in the mid 1980s to start work in film and TV. Some forty years later, he’s still here, now married with a son and co-running a production company. He has written poetry for many years; most often poems that explore our increasingly tense and complex relationship with nature. Having grown up in the country then living most of his adult life in London, there’s an ‘inside out’ perspective on nature that fascinates him; all the more so as urgency around environmental loss escalates. ‘Night Feed’ was amongst ten commended poems in the 2006 National Poetry Competition, ‘Leatherback Turtle’ was longlisted in 2021 in the same competition, and several other poems have appeared in pamphlets and anthologies. He has published one non-fiction book: Ripping up the script, one couple’s journey through infertility, a man’s perspective. Notable film work includes Father’s Day, a drama made in partnership with Prostate Cancer UK and ITV, and Alastair Campbell, depression and me, a co-production for BBC2 Horizon.